Trade ministers clear deck for India-Africa-LatAm trilateral FTA talks news
19 October 2011

Trade ministers from India, Brazil and South Africa at their meeting in Pretoria have decided to hold annual trilateral meetings aimed at a wider trade partnership to further enhance trade among the three continents.

The ministers mandated a working group on trade and investment to examine all issues related to trade holistically, including issues relating to non-tariff barriers, maritime and air links and opportunities for investments.

Direct air connectivity is expected to give tourism a major boost and the trade ministers agreed to look at the visa related issues so that the process for business visas is made easy. The ministers also interacted with the IBSA Business forum on Monday.

The IBSA working group on trade and investment talks will have a technical team to reconcile trade data and devise a common reporting format as well as methods for capturing all the data of trilateral trade, including those occurring through third countries. Trade data may vary due to different methodologies followed by the three countries (such as calendar year vs financial year or CIF or FOB).

"With the ratification process of the Mercosur-SACU FTA advancing, and initiation of the process of deepening of the India-Mercosur preferential trade agreement (PTA), the deck is now clear for making progress on a trilateral FTA involving India, SACU and Mercosur," the ministers said in a statement released at the end of their talks.

"The FTA linking developing countries in the three continents is envisaged as one of the most ambitious free trade areas and will be a symbol of growing South-South cooperation," said Anand Sharma. His sentiment was shared by his counterparts from Brazil and South Africa and the Brazilian trade minister Pimental offered to host the second ministerial meeting of India-SACU-Mercosur, in June-July 2012, in Brazil.

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Trade ministers clear deck for India-Africa-LatAm trilateral FTA talks