Regulatory changes have given India’s pharmaceutical trade with Latin American countries a shot in the arm. Gains in other areas may soon follow. By Sergio Held

Long in the background of international commerce, trade between India and Latin America is poised to grow rapidly as countries in the region look for new partners and sources of goods outside their traditional suppliers.

India’s trade with Argentina, for example, is growing by almost a third every year. Trade with Venezuela is on the rise thanks to oil exports, even as the country deals with a severe financial crisis. Brazil, a fellow member of the BRICS alliance of major emerging economies, is boosting links, and trade with Colombia has expanded since the signing of a mutual investment promotion and protection agreement.

In a 2012 report, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said that Latin American imports from India averaged US$8.2 billion per year between 2009 and 2011, with Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and Chile – in that order – buying 86% of the region´s imports from India. Brazil alone took 40% and stands as the major importer from India in the region.

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