Latin America.. hmm … too far. This is a typical dismissing comment of some Indian businessmen who have the old mindset that distance is a barrier for trade. They also presume that Latin American countries are less important for India's trade in comparison to European countries and the traditional trade partners. Here is a surprise for them. India does more trade with the distant Latin American countries than with some of the neighboring countries as well as European and Asian countries considered as close trading partners. This is evident from the following 2014-15 (April-March) statistics of the Indian Ministry of Commerce.
India's trade with Venezuela ( $12 .24 billion ) and Brazil ( $11.36 bn) in 2014-15 were more than her trade with close neighbors Srilanka ($7.4 bn), Bangladesh ( $ 7 bn), Thailand ($9.3 bn) and Vietnam ($9.2 bn) as well as with traditional partners France ( $9.4 bn) and Netherlands ( $8.7 bn)
India had more trade with Mexico ($ 6.25 bn) than with Nepal ($ 5.2 bn), Egypt ($ 4.7 bn) Canada ($5.9 bn), Italy ( $5 bn), Spain ( $ 5.1 bn) and Israel ($5.6 bn)
Trade with Chile ($ 3.65 bn) and Colombia ($ 3.24 bn) were more than with Ukraine ( $2.58 bn) and Sweden ( $ 2.48 bn)
Argentina accounted for more trade with India ($ 2.45 bn) than Myanmar ($ 2 bn)
Trade with Peru ($ 1.41 bn) was more than with Ireland ( $1.29 bn)
Ecuador ($ 1.29 bn) had more trade with India than Portugal ( $ 0.78 bn), Austria ($1.17 bn), Norway ($ 1.26 bn), Denmark ($1.18 bn), Kazhakstan ( $ 0.95 bn), Morocco ( $1.24 bn) and Newzealand ( $ 0.91 bn)
Trade with Dominican Republic ($ 432 m) was more than with Bulgaria ($370 m)
India's import of crude oil from the far off Venezuela in 2014-15 was $12 bn while it was just $ 11bn from Kuwait and $ $ 11.4 bn from UAE, which are closer sources.
India exported more to Brazil ( $5.96 bn) than to Japan ( $5.4 bn), Republic of Korea ($4.6 bn), Malaysia ($5.8 bn), Indonesia ( $ 4bn), Thailand ( $ 3.4 bn), Nepal ( $ 4.5 bn), France( $4.9 bn), Italy($5 bn), Spain ( $3.1), Turkey ( $ 5.3 bn), Egypt ( 3 bn), and South Africa ( $ 5.3 bn)
India's exports to Mexico ($ 2.8 bn ) exceeed those to Russia ( $ 2 bn), Australia ( 2.78 bn) and Canada ( $ 2.2 bn)
India exported more to Colombia ($ 1.1 bn) than to Switzerland ( $1.06 bn)
Peru was a more important destination ( $ 820 million) for Indian exports than Myanmar ( $ 773 m), Bhutan ( $ 337 m), Sweden ( $ 740 m), Portugal ( $ 636 m), Ireland ( $ 759 m), Austria ( $ 363 m), Ethiopia ( $ 783 m) and many Central and East European, Central Asian and some European Union countries.
Exports to Chile ( $566 m) were more than exports to Austria ( $ 363 m), Greece ( $361m), and Czech republic ( $ 328 m)
Exports to Panama ($ 302 m) and Guatemala ( $ 229 m) were more than exports to Cambodia ( $143 m), Maldives ( $152 m) and European Union countries such as Slovak Republic ( $ 104 m), Slovenia ($ 212 m), the Baltic countries and some Central Asian countries such as Armenia ( $ 91 m), Azerbaijan ( $ 110 m), Belarus ( $ 48 m) and Georgia ( $ 86 m)
It is interesting to note that India exported vehicles worth $ 1.8 billion to Latin America. Mexico is the top destination for India's car exports which reached $ 780 million in 2014-15. Motorcycle exports to Colombia were $270 m.
Latin America is a large market of 582 million people, GDP of 6.2 trillion dollars and average per capita income of $11,000.
India's trade of $ 43 bn in 2014-15 has the potential to reach $ 100 bn. India's exports of $ 13 bn could be doubled by 2020 if the Indian exporters target the region seriously and systematically.