The eight-country regional bloc Central American Integration System (SICA) is keen to sign Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India and has formally made a proposal in this regard. The bloc has made a proposal for FTA with India on similar lines it has signed with the USA, Europe and other countries. The members of SICA are Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Panama and Dominican Republic.
“SICA bloc, with a population of more than 70 million, offers huge consumer market for Indian companies, that can explore untapped business partnership in the areas of Hospitality, Chemical, Green Energy, IT, Pharmaceutical, Vehicles and Automotive products, Teak wood, medical devices,” said H.E. Mr. Claudio Ansorena Montero, Ambassador of the Republic of Costa Rica while interacting with Dr. Vijay Kalantri, President-All India Association of Industries (AIAI) and Chairman, MVIRDC WTC Mumbai.
H.E. Mr. Montero suggested Indian government to open its Embassy in Costa Rica to strengthen diplomatic relations, which is more than 50 years old. Costa Rica has opened an Embassy in India 13 years years ago to promote bilateral relations. Currently, bilateral trade is hardly USD 200 Million and there is immense scope to enhance this trade, the Ambassador pointed out.
Around 22 Indian companies have invested in Costa Rica to benefit from its 8-year tax holiday and exemption from Import or Export duties. All incentives and benefits are given for putting up manufacturing establishments, services and other business in Costa Rica and other SICA countries, added the Ambassador.
Pointing to areas of bilateral cooperation, Mr. Montero mentioned, “We are looking to strengthen trade and investment ties with India in pharmaceuticals, auto and auto-components as India is a reliable supply partner which meets our requirement in terms of quality. There are also emerging trade and investment opportunities in IT, telecom and energy between both the countries, he added.
Mr. Montero suggested Indian government to re-consider tariffs on fruits, coffee and other items exported by Costa Rica to India.
Mr. Montero further added that both the countries are committed to peace and we value democracy and both of us have a legal system in place and offer a fair level playing field.
Speaking on this occasion, Dr. Kalantri highlighted, “The current trade volume between India and Costa Rica is USD 200 Million. AIAI and WTC Mumbai will take efforts to enhance mutual trade and investment by signing MoUs with the Embassy of Costa Rica and exchanging frequent trade delegations. We are also planning to organize India-Latin America Economic Conclave in the course of time to create awareness about areas of mutual collaboration and co-operation.”
Dr. Kalantri added, “India is now also a pharma capital of the world besides IT and this is one potential area for mutual collaboration and Indian industry can consider Costa Rica as a gateway to Latin American, USA and Europe.
Dr. Kalantri pointed out that there are great opportunities for Indian companies in Central Latin American countries besides hinting at possibility of Technology Transfer, trade and investment in sectors such as Automotive, Pharma and Chemical.
Dr. Vijay Kalantri, President-All India Association of Industries (AIAI) and Chairman, MVIRDC WTC Mumbai with H.E. Mr. Claudio Ansorena Montero,Ambassador of the Republic of Costa Rica.