India, Peru conclude 7th round of FTA talks


India and Peru concluded the seventh round of negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) on Thursday, aiming to deepen economic ties, a senior Indian government official said. 

The next round of talks is scheduled for the second week of June in Lima, with meetings likely to focus on consensus-building on trade of goods and services, the official added, requesting anonymity.

The FTA is strategically important as India seeks access to Peru’s lithium reserves, critical for its growing electric vehicle industry. Peru is surrounded by the ‘lithium triangle’ comprising Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.

The four-day talks, which began on 8 April, were aimed at understanding each party’s priorities and concerns, ensuring the agreement benefits both nations equally, according to a statement from the commerce ministry.

India’s commerce ministry has prioritized finalizing the trade pact with Peru as part of its 100-day agenda. 

Both countries are working to reduce or eliminate customs duties on several goods and ease norms to promote trade in services, the official said.

Discussions also covered the movement of natural persons, rules of origin, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures, as per the ministry’s statement.

Negotiations for an FTA began in 2017, with the fifth round concluding in August 2019. After a pause during the pandemic, talks resumed with the sixth round in February this year.

Besides lithium, Peru is also a major producer of lead, zinc, gold, copper, and silver.

As things stand, India and Peru have been experiencing steady growth in bilateral trade. During FY23, bilateral trade volume between the two countries hit $3.12 billion. India exported goods worth $865.91 million to Peru and imported goods valued at $2.25 billion from the country.

According to data from the government’s Niryat portal, India’s exports to Peru from April to December were valued at $699.04 million, and included motor vehicles, cotton yarn, and pharmaceuticals. Peru’s exports to India primarily consist of gold, copper ores, and concentrates.

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Published: 12 Apr 2024, 01:09 PM IST

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