More talks set for India-Peru free trade agreement

Legislation | 30 April 2019

India and Peru want to get their FTA off the ground.


More talks are set to take place soon to negotiate a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between India and Peru, officials have said.

The last round of discussions were concluded in Lima last month, where representatives deliberated upon customs procedures, trade facilitation, market access for goods and movement of professionals.

Now, it has been reported that both nations will meet once again for a fifth round of talks aimed at tackling two-way commerce and investments, this time in India in August.

Both sides are keen to thrash out issues like dispute settlement, trade remedies, rules of origin of goods and customs procedures in order to get the FTA off the ground.

 

In particular, India is eager to look for new trading partners in regions like South America, Africa and Asia amid growing uncertainties surrounding its traditional markets including the US and Europe.

The Federation of Indian Export Organisations told Business Today it believes Peru represents a positive opportunity for more trade.

"South America has huge trade potential. The agreement would help boost exports between the two countries," said its president Ganesh Kumar Gupta.

Peru currently ranks third on India's list of top export destinations in the Latin America and Caribbean region, with India's biggest commodities for export there including cars, tyres, dyes, iron and steel products and fabrics.

The products it mostly imports from Peru include gold, fertilisers, coffee and crude oil.

A road to a potential new FTA was opened up back in January 2015, when the two countries set up a Joint Study Group to assess feasibility. This approved trade discussions in October 2016.

If it came to pass, this would be the first FTA India has with any Latin American country and could open up the door to more in neighbouring countries.

Peru currently participates in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership - which evolved from the Trans-Pacific Partnership - and also has an FTA with China dating from 2009, so it is likely to be hoping for a lift in its trade relations elsewhere to enhance its economic position.

However, an issue with past Indian FTAs has been a lack of progress, so this will be something both nations need to avoid this time if any real benefits are to be achieved.