Colombia banks on tax treaty to push business ties with India

March 13th, 2011 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 13 (IANS) Colombia is betting big on a tax treaty with India to attract Indian investments to the Latin American nation and is set to rise manifold as interest grows in areas like mining, oil exploration and IT.

“Negotiations for the double tax avoidance treaty is over. It is 99 percent complete. Now it only needs to be ratified by our parliament. I am hopeful it will be implemented very soon,” Colombian Ambassador to India Juan Alfredo Pinto told IANS in an interview.

“We are looking forward to Indian IT, oil and mining companies entering the Colombian market and setting up operations to take advantage of one of the fastest-growing economies of South America,” the ambassador added.

“Our ministry for energy and mining has estimated the investment required to develop our oil and hydrocarbon blocks at around $28 billion over the next four years. We do hope a major chunk can come from India. We will welcome it and facilitate it.”

With over 45 million people, Colombia has the second largest population in South America after Brazil and the third largest concentration of Spanish-speaking people in the world, after Mexico and Spain.

The overseas arm of the state run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC-Videsh) and Reliance Industries are among firms that already have operations in the South American nation. Talks were on with other companies in the sector as well, the ambassador said.

In the information technology and related industry, Indian companies like Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Sutherland have invested nearly $50 million in Colombia. Among them, TCS has nearly 700 employees.

“We want Indian IT companies to come to our country and provide solutions. Our huge base of talented and skilled population will also provide an advantage to India that seek to expand operations to other countries in South America.”

Other Indian companies which have operations in Colombia include Bajaj, TVS, Hero Honda, Praj Industries, United Phosphorus, Flat World Solutions, Havells India, Essel Propack and Global Outsourcing Solutions.

India and Colombia currently share a bilateral trade of $1.4 billion, with imports and exports evenly matched. “Once the double tax avoidance treaty is implemented, I expect bilateral trade to go up by $2 billion within a year.”

The ambassador also said that the treaty could also push the cumulative investments by India Inc in Colombia, which stands at around $1 billion, to increase by 20-25 percent in a couple of years.

Colombians were also pleased when India donated $1 million as disaster relief in January 2011 for rehabilitation of flood victims. This apart, New Delhi has offered 35 scholarships for technical education, especially on software.

(Rohit Vaid can be reached at and

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