Next Round of Talks on Proposed India-Peru Trade Agreement Likely in June

"The next round, expected in June 2024, will be preceded by intersessional negotiations over VC (video conference) to ensure that outstanding issues are resolved before the two parties meet again," the commerce ministry said.
Talks for Proposed India Peru FTA likely to be in June
Talks for Proposed India Peru FTA likely to be in June

The chief negotiators of India and South American nation Peru are likely to hold the next rounds of talks for a proposed free trade agreement in June, an official statement said on Thursday. 

So far, seven rounds of talks have been completed. "The next round, expected in June 2024, will be preceded by intersessional negotiations over VC (video conference) to ensure that outstanding issues are resolved before the two parties meet again," the commerce ministry said. 

The seventh round of talks involved understanding priorities and mutual concerns and ensuring that the negotiations are rooted in mutual respect and benefit, it added. 

Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal said the basic principle of negotiations should be understanding strengths and respecting sensitivities of each other. 

The modalities of negotiation may emerge from appropriate stakeholder consultations, and feedback from the industry and the negotiating teams should engage in a gainful and explorative approach, he said. 

Rajesh Agrawal, Chief Negotiator and Additional Secretary, Department of Commerce, said holding two rounds of negotiation within two months is itself a testimony to the willingness between both countries to have a deeper economic cooperation. 

He emphasised the need for effective and fast-track negotiations. Peruvian Chief Negotiator Gerardo Antonio Meza Grillo, Director for Asia, Oceania and Africa, Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, said that resuming negotiations after 2019 is significant and reflects the commitment and interest of both parties. 

He stressed that the negotiating teams may show flexibility and pragmatism to reach mutual solutions. 

In this round of negotiations, discussions across the chapters include trade in goods, trade in services, movement of natural persons, rules of origin, customs procedures and trade facilitation. 

Peru has emerged as the third-largest trading partner of India in Latin American and Caribbean regions. 

In the last two decades, the trade between India and Peru has increased from USD 66 million in 2003 to around USD 3.68 billion in 2023. 

"The trade agreement under negotiations shall play a pivotal role in future collaboration in various sectors, creating avenues for mutual benefit and advancement," the statement said. 

Negotiations for the agreement started in 2017. They were paused due to the coronavirus pandemic and later resumed with the special virtual round in October 2023. 

During 2022-23, the bilateral trade between India and Peru stood at USD 3.12 billion. India exported goods worth USD 865.91 million to Peru and imported goods valued at USD 2.25 billion. 

Key Indian exports to Peru include motor vehicles/cars, cotton yarn and pharmaceuticals, while imported items include gold, copper ores and concentrates. 

According to a report from think tank GTRI, duty concessions on gold, which accounts for 80 percent of India's imports from Peru, is the most challenging issue for New Delhi under the proposed free trade agreement with the South American nation. 

"Tariff concessions on gold, accounting for USD 1.8 billion or 80 percent of imports from Peru in FY23, is the most challenging issue for India," GTRI has said. 

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