Focus India-LAC - November 2018

The 8th India–LAC Conclave got underway in Santiago, Chile on 1 October. This is the second conclave (organised by the CII sponsored by GOI) held abroad. The first was in Mexico in 2016. Chile is currently the fourth largest trading partner of India, with 89 percent of its exports comprising products from the mining sector and the fifth largest export market for India in 2017-18 ($763 million) in LAC. India and Chile in 2017 operationalised the expanded India-Chile Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) which also incorporates new chapters on Rules of Origin, Technical Barriers to Trade and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, contributing to the reduction of non-tariff barriers.

Media reports in September reported official sources saying that ONGC (Videsh Ltd – OVL) has rejected the offer of Venezuela’s national oil company PdVSA to buy an additional stake in the San Cristobal oilfield joint venture in Venezuela in which OVL already holds 40 percent since 2008. OVL has been demanding payment of $ 537 million in dividends from the project, which produces 18,000 barrels per day (bpd). Venezuela has paid a small portion but still owes $ 449 million for dividends till 2013. Dividends since 2014 have not yet been declared by PdVSA. Under an agreement in November 2016, OVL agreed to guarantee $ 318 million in additional investment to raise production from the field, in exchange for 17,000 bpd of crude. The Venezuelan side has been unable to meet its commitments.

TVS Motors announced in September its alliance with Torino Motors, a subsidiary of Groupo Autofin in Mexico. The agreement involves a distribution network for the two-wheeler manufacturer, which exports to over 60 countries and already has a presence in Latin America. Mexico is already a very large market for the Indian auto industry, with active linkages to the vast North American market. Separately, Mexico’s Cinepolis, the world’s second largest multiplex company by admissions (339 million last year) and fourth largest in terms of screens (over 5,300 of which 350 are in India), also announced in September a planned investment of Rs. 1500 crores to add 500 more screens over the next few years. Cineplois entered in India in December 2009 with its four-screen multiplex in Amritsar. 

India’s pharmaceutical presence in Latin America has grown. Lupin, which has a strong presence in Mexico, will develop its Brazilian subsidiary, Medquimica into a manufacturing hub for the region, which accounts for four percent of Lupin’s global turnover. The firm exports to Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. Lupin, which sold around $88 million worth in Brazil hopes to soon catch up with Torrent, another Indian pharma major based in Brazil with sales of $ 110 million in 2017/18.


November 30, 2018




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About the Author

Ambassador Deepak Bhojwani

Former Ambassador of India to Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba and Distinguished Fellow, Ananta Centre

Ambassador Deepak Bhojwani joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1978. He retired in February 2012. During his career, he was accredited as Ambassador in seven Latin American countries, resident in Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba, concurrent in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and was Consul General in Sao Paulo. He served abroad in three Continents – Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia), Europe (Spain and Czech Republic) and Latin America.

In the Ministry of External Affairs, he served in the Divisions dealing with Administration; West Asia and North Africa; US and Canada; and had a brief stint at the United Nations.

Ambassador Bhojwani also served as Private Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, Mr P.V.Narasimha Rao for two years from 1994 to 1996, and as Special Assistant to the Minister of State for External Affairs and for Science and Technology, Mr K.R.Narayanan, from 1985 till 1988.

He writes extensively on Latin America and its relations with India. He has written a book published in 2015 titled ‘Latin America, the Caribbean and India: Promise and Challenge’.

He is currently a Consultant for Latin America and the Caribbean through his firm LATINDIA (

Ambassador Bhojwani also serves as Independent Director on the Board of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., one of the largest state oil and gas companies of India.

Since January 2017 he has been Country Manager and Director, Magotteaux Industries Pvt. Ltd.

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