India's exports to countries in the Latin American and African regions have seen a steady and continuous rise over the past five years.
India's exports to the Latin American region increased from $2.16 billion in 2004-05 to $6.01 billion in 2008-2009, recording a growth of about 178 per cent. Likewise, the country's exports to the African countries increased from $5.6 billion in 2004-05 to $14.57 billion in 2008-2009 - a growth of about 160 per cent.
Giving this information in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today, minister of state for commerce and industry Jyotiraditya M Scindia noted that there has also been an increase in the trade and business enquiries from these regions over the years.
Besides, visits of Indian delegations and individual exporters to the countries of Latin America and Africa region have increased, the minister stated.
With a view to enhancing our exports to Latin America and Africa, the government has initiated a process for expansion of the existing India-Chile Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and India-MERCOSUR (trade bloc of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) Trade Agreement, the minister pointed out.
Besides, India has commenced negotiations for a PTA with South African Customs Union (SACU), which groups Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. In addition to this, he said the `focus' programmes aimed at increasing India's trade with Africa and Latin America are in force for supporting and encouraging Indian exporters to explore new markets of these regions, he stated.