Accompanied by a high level delegation, the minister will be taking stock of the country's stakes at a meeting of Indian envoys in the region where the heads of the 14 Indian embassies will meet amidst the mountainous air of Cusco, located at over 11,000 feet above the sea level in Peru.
This will be the first conference of regional heads of missions to be chaired by Khurshid. During his second leg, Khurshid will be visiting Mexico and Peru. "Topping the conference agenda will be plans to attract Indian investment to the region, especially in the context of the ongoing expansion of the crucial Panama Canal," said an official.
The multi-billion dollar project is expected to increase global shipping and trade, by doubling the capacity by 2015. Incidentally, Air India has plans to make Panama the first destination for direct flights from India to Latin America. Another critical talking point will be the ties with the 27-member Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) grouping.
However, ahead of Khurshid's visit, the state minister Minister of Commerce and Industry of India, Daggubati Purandeswari has already been going around the region since the past couple of weeks and was in Panama last week for the India Show which included exhibition by over 120 Indian companies in Expocomer 2013 . The Indian companies represented various sectors including automobiles, auto components, textiles, handicrafts, diamonds, jewellery, electricals, engineering goods, leather, silk, bangles, shawls, Ashok Leyland trucks and buses, etc.
The state minister of commerce and industry visited various countries in the region including Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador and invited the businessmen to invest in various sectors in the country.
Speaking to FE, Mexico's ambassador in New Delhi, Jaime Nualart, said, ""Mexico is the main destination of Indian investments in Latin America due to the 12 FTAs that we have signed with 44 countries as well as our vicinity with the US and preferential access to this market as a NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) country. We are ready to engage in any initiative that may be related, for example, to the more efficient use of water resources in agricultural activities, or even in finding more sustainable ways of agriculture like organic and dynamic agriculture practices that Indian farmers have implemented".
More than 37 Indian companies visited Ecuador recently, looking for opportunities in various sectors including echnology, energy, agriculture, construction and mining in that country.
According to Ontaneda Augustine, Consul of India," Trade balance is negative for Ecuador, so that one of the priorities is to reduce this gap by increasing exports."Since 2009, bilateral trade has grown. This is due to increased non-traditional exports from Ecuador and India's traditional sales."
Adding, "The main products that Ecuador could sell to India are food, especially quinoa and other grains. The major issue is logistical problem that exists, so we expect that governments seek mechanisms to promote bilateral trade."
Currently, the main products sent to New Delhi are wood, palm oil, scrap copper and some tissues. India, meanwhile, sells to Ecuador: aluminum, polypropylene, drugs and cars tourism.