‘Chile is open to support India’s candidature for APEC’
Aamir H Kaki & Ahmad Shariq Khan
Chile is open to support the candidature for India membership to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), said former President of Chile Eduardo Frei Montalva on Wednesday.
“However, all the resolutions for the entry of a new country is to be decided by all the members of the forum,” he told The Dollar Business on the sidelines of a seminar on Chile-India Expanded Agreement: Opportunities for Bilateral, Economic, Trade and Investment Relations, in New Delhi.
On the question of how the Trade Agreement between the two countries helped in enhancing trade, the Former President said, “First of all, I would like to express that the Trade Agreement that India and Chile was established in 2007, and then expanded in 2017 is not a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), it’s a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). The nature of this Agreement is relative minus ambitious than an FTA, because it’s does not contain chapters related intellectual propriety, electronic commerce, gender issues, environment or investment, among others.”
In 2006, Chile and India signed a partial scope agreement, which came into effect in August 2007. In 2016, after five years of negotiations, the agreement was broadened, effective as of May 2017.
The partial scope agreement made Chile India’s first Latin American trading partner and marked a milestone in trade between India and the region. Broadening of the Partial Scope Agreement has increased the number of products traded under preferential tariffs from 474 to around 2,800. In Chile, the number of products increased from 178 to 1,031.
“The entry on force of the PTA Plus (the expanded PTA), has been May 16, 2017, only 5 months ago. For this reason, today, is difficult to highlight an increase in trade on either side,” he said.
“Nonetheless, I trust, that the PTA Plus will increase the trade, in the same way that the exported non-copper products have increased three-folds during 2006 and 2016,” he added.
Chilean non-copper exports to India jumped from $51 million in 2006 to $178 million in 2016.
When asked how can Chile plays a role in bringing India and other Latin American countries closer, he said that Chile has an open economy and a stable institutional and political system, which installs a healthy business environment. With the 10 trade agreements signed between Chile and Latin-American countries, the possibilities to export and make business in the region are maximised.
“Even more, Chile is founder of the Pacific Alliance, the most successful integration movement of the history of the LAC region. Its functions are becoming a platform of political articulation, economic and commercial integration and projection to the world, with emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
India is Chile's eighth most important trading partner. Exports to India reached $1.45 billion last year, while imports from India recorded average annual growth of 13%.
Chile’s main exports to India are cellulose ($41 million), iodine ($33 million), fresh apples ($22 million), coal and charcoal ($20 million).