India’s Trade and Commerce Minister: ‘Caribbean, Latin America important trade partners’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

India’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Piyush Goyal – Photo courtesy Piyush Goyal

INDIA’S Minister of Industry and Commerce Piyush Goyal has reiterated that the Caribbean and Latin America are important trade partners with his country.

He was speaking to journalists from the Caribbean and Latin America who are part of a media familiarisation tour of India arranged by India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

At a press conference at his office in Delhi earlier this week, Goyal welcomed the journalists to his country and thanked the Heads of Government from several countries in Latin America and the Caribbean for supporting India over the years.

“Trade has grown between India and Latin America and the Caribbean over the years. I can say that 30 years ago, trade with Latin America accounted for $2 billion. As of today, trade stands at $40 billion, $50 billion if you count Mexico. And the goal is to take this figure to $100 billion within the next five years,” Goyal said.

He said that with a population of over one billion, India is a market full of possibilities for its global partners with shared goals and interests.

He invited the journalists to take the message back that India, the fifth largest economy in the world, is open and ready to do business.

Speaking of India’s strides in pharmaceuticals, medicine, textiles, research and development, he said there are a lot of benefits to be derived from partnering with his country not only on the trade and commerce front but also on the diplomatic front.

He said India’s renaissance can be seen from ten years ago when Narendra Modi led his BJP party into government. He said Modi was behind the movement to lift India out of its status as a fragile economy to one that is the fifth largest in the world, projected to be the third largest by 2027.

India’s economic growth has been aided by its foreign partners in trade. The Caribbean and Latin America are counted among these important trade partners.

Goyal acknowledged China’s efforts to have a presence in trade and diplomacy in the West, including the Caribbean and Latin America, as a means of countering the influence of the United States. However, they denied that India’s push to increase its own trade was to counter China’s growing influence.

“We are happy for China, which is an important ally of ours. But we don’t see it as competition for influence. We see it as reaching out to our global partners, including those in the Caribbean and Latin America, to maintain and increase trade ties.”

Acknowledging the large diaspora in several Caribbean countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Suriname, Goyal said there are a lot of mutual opportunities and benefits between these countries and India.