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India, Latin America and Caribbean Talking Business

During the last decade investors in LAC nations have identified opportunities to embark on a mutually rewarding journey of growth.

Overview

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.

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Key Insights

When mapping the passage of cross-border investments between LAC nations and India and vice versa, it was found that investment volumes between the two regions have grown and the profile of investment is gradually shifting to higher-value-added industry sectors and unique technological collaborations. However, to connect companies of LAC and Indian origin it is apparent that enhancing awareness of each side's economic strengths is vital to successful cooperation and ultimately economic growth.

Stereotypes about the strengths and weaknesses of India and LAC are dying out. The partnership between the two geographies has evolved in more ways than just growth in investment size. For decades, LAC countries attracted FDI from companies that wanted only to harness the region's wealth of natural resources. India, too, perceived LAC primarily as a source of natural resources such as oil, gas and metals. But this perception has been changing dramatically in the last three years. Today, India's investments in LAC reflect an interest in finding new markets and enhancing supply chain efficiency.

Recommendations

The journey to prosperity, although rewarding, will be challenging. Businesses will need to manage cultural and regulatory complexities as well as diverse demand- and supply-side realities.

If operational barriers are not overcome in a timely manner, they may become structural barriers that could constrain the collaborative growth opportunity. This paper offers a list of recommendations of actions that governments, investors and industry associations can take to surmount operational hurdles:

Specifically for investors, our recommendations are threefold:

  1. Find a reliable local partner and be prepared to bring senior local talent on board at very early stages of investment.

  2. Become conversant with local cultures and business practices and raise awareness of government programs and government agencies that can facilitate bilateral investment cooperation.

  3. Consider LAC and India as not just standalone markets, but as platforms for tapping a wider market leveraging the power of expanding trade arrangements.

Moreover, Indian investors must understand LAC as one large market instead of multiple smaller markets. By adopting this mindset, they will appreciate LAC's true potential and better identify opportunities to do business across national borders within LAC.

With these recommendations in mind and with these regions being abundant in human capital, natural resources and a growing pool of technologists, innovators and entrepreneurs, this relationship between emerging markets—E2E—can unlock new sources of industrial prosperity and human development.

About the research

To develop high-quality factsheets on LAC economies and Indian states, the research team sourced information from reputable secondary sources such as the World Bank, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE), the UNCTAD and various databases published by respective sub-national authorities and national governments of India and LAC economies.

We prepared factsheets on 17 LAC economies and 10 Indian states (others were not incorporated because of the absence of verifiable and consistent data). With the support of FICCI and Invest India, the research team, wherever possible, also spoke with senior officials in LAC missions and state officials in India to verify data gathered from secondary sources The responses from our questionnaire were utilized towards mapping barriers to investment flows from LAC regions into India and vice versa.

About the Institute for High Performance

The Accenture Institute for High Performance develops and publishes practical insights into critical management issues and global economic trends. Its worldwide team of researchers connects with Accenture’s business leaders to demonstrate how organizations become and remain high performers through original, rigorous research and analysis.


Authors

Raghav Narsalay
Managing Director of Innovation Research as well as for India and China Research

 

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Mamta Kapur
Thought Leadership Research Manager

 

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Smriti Mathur
Thought Leadership Research Specialist

 

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Luv Nijhawan
Thought Leadership Research Associate Manager

 

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Aarohi Sen
Thought Leadership Research Associate Manager

 

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