India is keen to diversify trade with Paraguay and with other MERCOSUR countries through expansion of existing Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA).
“We look forward to Paraguay as one of the active members of the grouping to push for expediting the expansion of the list of items under PTA, between the two sides,” said Vijay Thakur Singh, secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs.
According to Secretary (East), India wants to expand the tariff lines from the present 400 to 2000.
Responding to a question, she told Financial Express Online that the South American country is keen in various sectors including railways, infrastructure, space and renewable.
“There is little more than working on exports, there will be a top level delegation visiting Paraguay to discuss cooperation in the agro business and India’s research in agriculture which could be mutually beneficially to both sides.”
Top MEA officials said that, “India is actively considering opening embassy in Asuncion, Paraguay. A few formalities are underway and we expect that it will open soon.”
Before leaving for Costa Rica, India invited Paraguay business community to take advantage of India’s economic growth and the reform oriented approach of the Government.
Calling Paraguay an important partner in the region, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu while addressing the business community in the South American nation pointed out that rich and diverse resources in the region offer great business opportunities for Indian businesses.
Naidu highlighted the scope to improve bilateral trade between the two nations and build relations on areas of mutual interest such as automobiles, pharma Agriculture. Food processing, machine tools, space technology and other areas for the benefit of both nations. He urged the industries captains on both sides to explore opportunities in affordable medicines such as generic medicines for the benefit of Paraguay and for other countries in the region.
He also talked about the reforms undertaken by the Government to make India the most favorite destination for foreign investments.
Talking to Financial Express Online several businessmen from Paraguay were hopeful of further strengthening of the business relations and sought more engagement to seek support in fields such as technology, innovation and hydel power generation where India has expertise.
“Paraguay offers great taxation policy for Indian businessmen. We have a market that is both demanding and facilitating, Paraguay can serve as a base for Indian business enterprises to do business with our neighboring countries. There are great opportunities in Agriculture infrastructure that We want India to invest, agriculture equipment is one such sector,” Jorge E Pappalardo, ECON, said.
Paulo Duarte, a young businessmen said that “The two countries have similar demographic advantage. Paraguay can contribute in food processing and have Paraguayan outlets in India.”
Adding, “Agriculture products, machine tools in Agriculture can provide great business opportunities for both the nations.
The two countries have witnessed a steep hike in trade and investments in the last few years. The bilateral trade grew from $194 Million in 2014-2015 to $ 334 million USD in 2017-2018.
As reported by Financial Express Online earlier, apart from the Soyabean oil that accounts for over 90% of Paraguay’s exports to India, other significant export items of Paraguay to India include iron and steel, oils and resinoids and aluminum.