Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Business with Nicaragua

A Nicaraguan delegation lead by Commandante Bayarde Arce, Advisor to the President on economic and financial affairs was in CII for interaction with the Indian industry on 27 November. The delegation sought Indian investment in IT, agriculture, food processing, infrastructure and renewable energy. They were also interested in importing buses and equipments and machinery. The delegation was encouraged by the presence of 20 Indian companies in the CII meeting.

Caplin Point, the Chennai-based pharma company hosted a dinner for the delegation. They are the leading exporter of pharmaceuticals to Nicaragua and some other central american countries.

India's exports to Nicaragua were 53 million dollars in 2011. Pharmaceuticals, two wheelers, three wheelers, automobiles and engineering goods were the major exports. Bajaj three-wheelers and Mahindra vehicles are popular there.

Praj has done a distillery project. Gammon India is starting a hydropower project with World Bank funding. Suzlon is into a wind energy project. Gravitas from Rajasthan is doing a Lead extraction project.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has already extended a Line of Credit of 10 million dollars as part of the 80 million to the SICA group of 8 central american countries. More credit is being requested by the Nicaraguan delegation.

Nicaragua has authorized their Honorary Consul in Mumbai Mr Mehta to issue visas. Mr Mehta informed in the CII meeting that he has issued 0ver 40 visas in the first ten months of 2012. The Delhi Honorary Consul Mr Burman has also been authorised to issue visas from November 2012. This is a rare and commendable gesture by the Nicaraguan government. Normally governments around the world do not allow the honorary consuls to issue visas.

Nicaragua has become politically stable with credible democratic functioning. The economy has been growing over 5% in recent years. The leftist government of Ortega is committed to business-friendly polieies besides Inclusive Development. More and more people are coming out of the poverty line. Nicaragua is the safest country in central america, free from violence and crime witnessed in some of the Latin American countries.

Despite being an authentic Marxist, President Ortega has shown pragmatism in external policy too. He has continued the traditional policy of recognition of Taiwan and has resisted the pressure from China.  USA which waged a bloody proxy war to overthrow Ortega's regime in the eighties, has now become the principal market for Nicaraguan exports.

This is a good time for Indian business expansion in Nicaragua. India's exports can be increased to over 200 million dollars in the next three years, if the Indian business takes Nicaragua seriously.

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