We Have To Make Sure Brazilian Investors Are Comfortable Investing In India : Brazil’s Ambassador to India
Brazil and India share similarities that point to the necessity of a strategic partnership, formally established in 2006
Brazil is an important strategic ally of India, as both the countries are a part of BRICS and IBSA bloc. Yet the two countries are almost as far as the physical distance gets. Even though FDI from Brazil to India amounted to a whopping 6340 Billion USD as of Sep 2017, there are still a few roadblock in enhancing the potential of BRICS and IBSA bond.
BW Businesssworld speaks to Tovar Da Silva Nunes, Brazil’s Ambassador to India on how the two nations can work together to enhance bilateral ties in the geopolitical arena.
Q- Given that Brazil and India are both part of the BRICS and IBSA nations' with their emerging economies and potential to be superpowers, how can bi-lateral and multi-lateral ties for cooperation be built between the two countries to enhance the potential of BRICS and IBSA nations in the geopolitical arena? What are some of the economic areas which Brazil and India can capitalize upon for furthering their relevance in global trade dynamics?
The New Development Bank (NDB) - or "BRICS Bank" - is perhaps one of the greatest symbols of this new worldview. The bank synthesizes a new paradigm, with "South-South" funding mechanisms in areas such as infrastructure and sustainable development. It provides the Contingent Reserves Arrangement (ACR), designed to allow mutual support to BRICS members in scenarios of balance of payments fluctuations. The NDB has an initial subscribed capital of USD 50 billion and an authorized capital of USD 100 billion.
In this context, I believe that the time has come to deepen and fully explore the series of mechanisms, memoranda, agreements and instruments signed within the framework of the BRICS, especially those related to the role to be played by the NDB. Likewise, we must always bear in mind the roadmap established by the Goa Declaration, agreed in October 2016, especially its shared values such as democracy, commitment to social inclusion and the need to expand our strategic alliance.
Q- What is your current view of the Bilateral relationship between India and Brazil? Are you satisfied with its trajectory? Can you throw some light on the areas of Indo-Brazil relationship that haven’t been explored effectively yet?
Brazil and India share similarities that point to the necessity of a strategic partnership, formally established in 2006. Both are developing countries of great territorial and demographic dimensions, with as great ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. They have strong democratic institutions and increasingly active civil societies. Their economies are among the ten largest in the world and their foreign policies have focused on development and on dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution, with an intense bilateral and multilateral diplomatic tradition.
Our rich and dynamic bilateral agenda is characterized by initiatives of cooperation in areas such as science and technology, defence, education, social development policies, energy and environment. Nevertheless, there`s still much work to be done in the area of bilateral trade and investments, in order to expand and add value to our trade basket, to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers and, finally, to create mechanisms that stimulate Brazilian companies to invest in India and vice versa.
Q- There is a huge vacuum in exchange programmes for students, as there is no recognized agreement to recognize credits? What can be done on this front?
Credits recognition in Brazil follows a University - University approach: the student has to present its certificates and/or details about the courses in order to have the study recognized in Brazil.
I believe that even having a framework for exchange programmes for students, more could be developed to strengthen academic cooperation. Some initiatives in this regard would include i) additional direct University and Schools interaction; ii) additional Portuguese language courses and professors based in India; and iii) increased number of Indian applications for Brazilian scholarships (CAPES/CNPQ) (a yearly process opened to India citizens).
Q- Due to a number of factors including a recession in Brazil trade declined in2016 by 28.62 per cent. How would you suggest the two countries deal with the trade deficit of 680 billion dollars with Brazil?
India and Brazil have an immense potential to be explored in the field of trade relations.
While trade relations are promising, it is also necessary to take joint steps to consolidate them. In order to achieve this goal, I would point out two priority actions: a) government impulses to minimize tariff and non-tariff barriers, eliminating access difficulties faced by both parties (in this sense, the expansion of the MERCOSUR-India Preferential Trade Agreement assumes a strategic dimension); b) the need to strengthen the exchange between the two countries by increasing the value added of their products (currently heavily concentrated in the sugar and fuel chain), as well as by taking advantage of new opportunities in sectors such as processed foods, services, defense industry, information technology, pharmaceuticals, footwear, fashion, cosmetics, tourism, culture, among others.
Q- Indian pharma companies have a strong presence in Brazil, how does Brazil audit the quality of Medication produced by Indian companies? Does Brazil agree with the concerns raised by Global drug regulators for the quality of Indian meds?
Brazil, through its Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), sends, whenever required, missions of Health specialists to inspect the producing facilities of Indian pharmaceutical companies that wish to export their products to our country. Brazil is concerned about the quality of pharmaceutical products in general and we do not discriminate according to the country. Therefore, any pharmaceutical company that follows the criteria and standards established by our national regulatory agency is entitled to export to Brazil. Brazil does not agree with the concerns raised by global medicinal giants. We are fully satisfied with the quality of medication produced by Indian Pharma companies.
Q- What is the common man’s view of India in Brazil? Do you think the two countries have enough people to people contact? How can that be boosted?
India is seen as a country very similar to Brazil: a nation of continental dimensions, with a great historical and cultural.
However, there is still much to do to increase this “symbolic” proximity and make it act as an element of reduction of the geographical distance. Among the many possibilities to be explored, I would highlight the stimulus to Brazilian tourism in India and vice versa; the exchange of writers, artists, filmmakers and students; and the consolidation of a joint agenda of trade and investment that would result in the creation of solid and long-term bonds with the exchange of executives, highly-skilled workers, businessmen and investors.
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