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INDIA-COLOMBIA TRADE: AIMING FOR NEW LANDMARKS!

IBEF, Knowledge Centre

Oct 15, 2018 12:35

India and Colombia’s diplomatic relations date back to the year 1959. Till today, the relations have only been growing stronger, friendlier and cordial with Colombia being the main commerce entry point for India into the Latin America. The two countries officially signed a commercial treaty in July 1970 to further strengthen mutual economic relations. Later, both the countries opened their Embassy offices in the counterpart nations. Colombian President Andrés Pastrana Arango visited India in 2001, which deepened the relations. Another major development took place in the year 2006 when Indian oil and gas major Oil India Limited invested US$ 425 million for exploration and production of oil in Colombia. Oil India further plans to explore gas in Colombia as well.

Over the past decade or so, the trade relations between the two countries are growing at a faster pace.

Some of the leading Indian companies which are present in Colombia are TCS, Tech Mahindra, Mahindra Conviva (Information technology), IPCA, CIPLA, Aurbindo Pharma, Dr. Reddy´s (Pharmaceuticals), United Phosphorus, Shraddha Chemicals (Agro-chemicals), TVS, Bajaj, Hero, Sonalika and Mahindra (Automobiles), Renuka Energy (Mining), ONGC Videsh and Praj Industries (Oil & gas) and Essel Propack (Plastics), to mention a few.

The two countries boast of bilateral agreements in more fields than one. Some of these fields are Information Technology, Hydrocarbons, Investment Promotion & Protection, Business Development, Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement, Visa facilitation, Science & Technology, Urban Development, Bamboo sector, Health, Geology and Mineral Reforms, Sports and Culture.

BILATERAL TRADE AND COMMERCE

Bilateral trade between the two nations has been staying strong over the years. For instance, it increased by 11 percent billion in FY18 to US$ 1.5 as compared to FY17.

Glimpse of India’s trade with Colombia (US$ mn)

Year

FY 2016

FY 2017

FY 2018

Exports

887

785

939

Share in India’s Exports (%)

0.3

0.3

0.3

Imports

808

594

593

Share in India’s Imports (%)

0.2

0.2

0.1

Trade (Exports – Imports)

1,695

1,379

1,532

Share in India’s trade (%)

0.3

0.2

0.2

Source: Export Import Data Bank, Department of Commerce

We can see from the above table that India’s exports to Colombia rose from US$ 785 million in FY17 to US$ 939 million in FY18, which was a 20 per cent jump.

The Indo-Colombian export and import basket is getting more and more varied over the past few years. For instance, major Indian imports from Colombia include mineral fuel, minerals oils, natural or cultivated pearls, wood and steel articles of wood and socoa etc. Similarly, Indian exports to Colombia is also a mix basket containing motorcycles in CKD form, vehicles other than railways, cotton yarn and woven fabrics of cotton, organic chemicals and iron & steel etc.

Top commodities which were exported from India to Colombia in FY 2018 are listed in the table below.

Top commodity-wise exports from India to Colombia

HS

Code

Commodity

FY 2018

(US$ mn)

87

Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof

255

76

Aluminium and articles thereof

88

52

Cotton.

84

73

Articles of iron or steel

69

29

Organic chemicals

67

30

Pharmaceutical products

55

84

Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances; parts thereof

36

39

Plastic and articles thereof

34

72

Iron and steel

32

38

Miscellaneous chemical products

27

55

Man-made staple fibres

24

40

Rubber and articles thereof

23

85

Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers,and parts

23

54

Man-made filaments

20

32

Tanning or dyeing extracts; tannins and their deri. Dyes, pigments and other colouring matter; paints and ver; putty and other mastics; inks

16

62

Articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted

9

 

Total

939

Source: Export Import Data Bank, Department of Commerce

Clemencia Forero Ucros, the Colombian Ambassador to India, says "India and Colombia have established very special ties in agriculture, education, science, technology and medicine, among others. We are now looking for strategic alliances in the services of agro-industry, metal-working and engineering."

The top few categories which were imported from Colombia into India in FY 2018 are also listed below.

Top commodity-wise imports from Colombia into India

HS

Code

Commodity

FY 2018

(USD Mn)

71

Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semiprecious stones, premetals, clad with premetal and articles thereof; imitation jewlry;coins

308

27

Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes.

177

39

Plastic and articles thereof.

66

72

Iron and steel

22

44

Wood and articles of wood; wood charcoal.

10

76

Aluminium and articles thereof.

4

79

Zinc and articles thereof.

2

 

Total

593

Source: Export Import Data Bank, Department of Commerce

As we can see, the HS Code 71 category namely ‘Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semiprecious stones, premetals, clad with premetal and articles thereof; imitation jewelry; coins’ topped the list with US$ 308 million worth of imports.

Apart from these, agri-business is another strong focus area. “Colombia is largely a producer of coffee, cocoa, sugar and flowers. In these sectors, Colombia has an edge and Indian agri sector could benefit from their expertise and experience”, says Ravi Bangar, ambassador of India in Colombia and Ecuador.

INDEE COLOMBIA ENGINEERING TRADE EXHIBITION 2018

Recently, the 40th edition of EEPC India’s (Engineering Export Promotion Council of India) trademark multiple engineering products exhibition INDEE (Indian Engineering Exhibition) was held from September 24 to 28, 2018 in Bogota, Colombia. The focused products in the exhibition were industrial machinery equipment and tools, heavy construction machinery, energy, plastic, petrochemicals and packaging and wire and tubes. The event had participation from around 700 exhibitors with more than 50,000 professional visitors.

Ravi Sehgal, President of EEPC India, assures that "it is a great honor and opportunity to participate in the International Industrial Fair of Bogotá, FIB, as an allied country. The Indian pavilion is organized by EEPC India and INDEE (Indian Engineering Exhibition), under the auspices of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India ". With a strong presence, more than 75 Indian companies participated in the show. Notable amongst those were the likes of Mahindra and Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, Volvo Eicher and Isuzu Motors.

"Indian companies are exploring market alternatives. Colombia has increased its security, has a large amount of natural resources and an increasing middle class; which makes it an attractive destination for Indian businesses, "Sehgal adds.

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