President Patil talks business in Brazil

April 15th, 2008 - 12:36 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil
By Liz Mathew
Sao Paulo, April 15 (IANS) Keen on strengthening trade ties between India and Brazil, two emerging economies of the world, President Pratibha Patil broke convention and ignored protocol to reach out to Brazil’s business community during her maiden trip to Latin America’s largest nation. Patil, who is on a three-day visit to Brazil that will end Wednesday, was more than happy to make her first official engagement at Sao Paulo, the country’s commercial capital, where she met the business delegation of the FIESP (Industry Federation of Sao Paulo).

The president’s aides said she immediately agreed to be present at the meeting, although it was not usual for leaders of high stature to attend it.

During her discussions with the FIESP delegation in Sao Paulo, where a 14-member Indian business delegation accompanied her, Patil reportedly told them: “Both sides have the acumen, desire, will and skill to take (the trade relation between the two countries) forward.”

According to India’s Ambassador to Brazil Hardeep Singh Puri, it was Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who suggested that Patil meet the FIESP delegation.

Puri also pointed out that it was the first time the president was accompanied by a business delegation.

Although trade between India and Brazil has touched $3.12 billion, officials said it was “nothing” in comparison to the opportunities both countries have.

“We want Brazilian companies to take advantage of the opportunities in infrastructure development, which has a scope of $500 billion. What we want them to have in these kinds of discussions is a scent of making money,” Puri said, appreciating Patil’s move to engage both sides in talk.

Nalin Surie, secretary (west) of the external affairs ministry, said India has a lot to learn from Brazil in agriculture - especially in harvesting, storage and hybrid varieties.

“The discussions were a good beginning. The president has herself taken the initiative for underpinning economic cooperation,” Surie said.

He added that Marcopolo, Brazil-based global leader in building bus and coach bodies, which has entered into a joint venture with Tata Motors, is going to make more buses for India than it does for all of Latin America.

Surie said the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has already ordered 600 buses and there is a growing requirement for green buses.

The Brazilian side was also enthusiastic about the interest India has taken in them.

“Both countries can have a strategic relation in the field of energy and food. This country can offer large quantity of these two. For this we have to increase bilateral investment, trade ties and cooperation,” Roberto Gianetti da Fonseca of FIESP said.

Patil has started her maiden visit abroad as president from Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America and India’s increasingly closer ally in north-south multilateral negotiations, especially when they have been working together through blocs such as IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) and BRIC (Brazil-Russia-India-China) in areas such as WTO, UN Security Council revamp and climate change talks.

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