Recognizing the potential of the LAC region to emerge as a powerful trade partner, the Indian government launched its “Focus LAC” program in 1997. This initiative was the first concerted effort of its kind to boost trade relationships between India and LAC nations as a group. The program has not only helped improve trade numbers, it has also helped diversify the “export baskets” of both geographies.
Despite being located oceans apart, India and the Latin American Caribbean nations have remarkable similarities. Both share a rich and diverse cultural and biodiversity heritage preserved over centuries. Growth in many LAC nations and India continues to be influenced by mixed economic forces. Both face a demographic transition, and their promise to emerge as large consumer markets is making them equally attractive to global corporations.
India and LAC nations have evolved as diversified and mature global trading and investment players. Some have transformed themselves into highly competitive export hubs for manufactured products such as aircraft, automobiles, machinery and pharmaceuticals, as well as services such as software, information technology and entertainment, while still retaining their competitiveness in traditional agro-product exports. Their maturity as FDI destinations is reflected in the fact that they together accounted for 21 percent of global foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into emerging markets during the aftermath of the recent global economic crisis.