Mitra urges for preferential trade ties with LAC countries
Kolkata : West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Thursday called for preferential trade agreements with the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries.
"Honourable Prime Minister visited Brazil in 2014 during the BRICS conference... But unfortunately since 2014, we (the Centre) have not engaged at the highest level with the Latin American (countries). I think that is a great loss.
"Don't worry, West Bengal is here... We will certainly push our Central government to engage with this great part of the world," he said at a seminar "India-LAC Business Cooperation: Special focus on West Bengal", organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.
There have been five visits by Latin American leaders to India since 2014, he said, adding that bilateral trade value between India and Latin America touched US $48 billion in 2014 and it has dipped from there.
Mitra also called for preferential trade pacts with these countries and urged to indentify core sectors to increase trade between India and the LAC countries.
"India needs to build a sustained long-term relation with Latin American nations. We need to identify our core competencies and enter into more preferential trade agreements (PTAs)," he said.
The ambassadors of Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Ecuador, Argentina, Panama, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Peru, Surinam, Bolivia and Uruguay were present at the meeting.
Mitra has invited 18 countries from Latin America and Caribbean to participate in the next edition of Bengal Global Business Summit to be held in February next year.
According to him, leather, textiles, ITeS, chemicals and petrochemicals could be the areas of co-operation between West Bengal and Latin American countries.
"There could be state-to-state collaboration also like we did in Germany with North Rhine-Westphalia," he added.