India, Brasil, S Africa to unveil trade roadmap

14 Oct 2008


The governments of India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) have chalked out plans to deepen and diversify trade within the three countries and a roadmap of future cooperation will be laid when the three Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and South African President Kgalema Motlanthe meet in New Delhi tomorrow.

Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said at the valedictory session of the third IBSA Summit held that IBSA is today in a position to make decisions on ''what is happening in the world today and what should be happening.''

This includes, he said, both political and financial issues. ''There are lessons to be learnt from the global economic crisis,'' he said.

''Trade within IBSA is targeted to rise to $15 billion from $11 billion today,'' he said adding, ''even this is not adequate given the scale of economies of IBSA nations.'' We have to recognize our strengths, the minister said, ''which are human resources, natural resources and strong, democratic institutions.'' He laid stress on linkages of institutions, saying this was a priority area and has as such been agreed by IBSA countries.

However, Sharma cautioned that any development and growth in industry should be in harmony with the aspirations and genuine needs of the people. In this regard, he said, the governments in these three countries would have to pay attention to ensuring food, energy and environmental security.

Pointing out that all the three governments were ready to extend a helping hand, Miguel Jorge, Brazilian minister for foreign trade, industry and development, said it was important that connectivity between the IBSA countries was substantially improved. This was important if trade and economic relations between the three countries had to be stepped up.

He said that India had a lot to offer Brazil, particularly in the healthcare sector and in skills development. ''We should establish the ground for Indian businesses to invest in Brazil.'' This, Jorge said, would transform our relations, taking them to the next level.

South Africa's minister of trade and industry Mandisi Mpahlwa said that as the IBSA nations share common values and challenges, it was important that they collaborate in various multilateral fora, including at the Doha Round. He said that the Doha Round is seeing a conflict between development needs an commercial interests and ''that's why South-South cooperation is very important.'' He said that given the current 'global gloom', it was important the IBSA nations integrate their economies more closely.

In this context, Mpahlwa stressed on the need to reduce non-tariff barriers in the IBSA bloc and said that trade between the three countries should be built on preferential trade agreements (PTAs). Pointing to the strong growth possibilities in South Africa, the minister invited Indian and Brazilian companies to invest there.

Moderating the discussion, Syamal Gupta, chairman, CII Africa Committee & Chairman, Tata International, said that there was synergy in terms of markets and resources between the three countries and this should be leveraged to boost economic ties between them.

The third  IBSA Business Summit 2008 was jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and Brazil's National Confederation of Industry (CNI) and supported by the Governments of South Africa, Brazil and India.

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