New Delhi: In a special ministerial session on the first day of the 9th CII India-LAC Conclave, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal stated that India and the Latin American & Caribbean (LAC) region need to collaborate more closely and reinforce the trust in each other, as well as share developmental experiences.

Stating this, Piyush Goyal also recommended a four-point agenda for deeper India-LAC cooperation.

"Addressed the 9th CII India-Latin America & Caribbean (LAC) Region Conclave. Highlighted how greater economic engagement between our countries can help realise mutual growth & prosperity," Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted.

Goyal called for drawing up a roadmap for increasing trade flows between the two regions by assessing the comparative and competitive strengths of each country. He suggested leveraging the bilateral partnership for greater investment flows and supply chain integration, deeper cooperation to realise the potential of tourism and hospitality in both regions; and collaborations in healthcare to take affordable solutions across the world were also stressed.

The Minister said that targets, such as for India-LAC bilateral trade, need to be set on the basis of a deeper understanding between the two regions. In regard to cooperation in the healthcare sector, he urged both sides to work toward mutual recognition agreements and smarter regulatory practices, and in the process avoid becoming hostage to high-cost medicines.

Goyal said that by building an atmosphere of trust and by working together, India and LAC countries will be able to find solutions to the most intractable problems too, such as, in the area of sugar trade.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi sets sight on becoming a USD 35 trillion economy by the year 2047, myriad avenues for India-LAC partnerships will open up. He also said the India-LAC partnership could serve as a force multiplier for global good.

Venezuela Vice Finance Minister Johann Álvarez said that despite the sanctions, Venezuela successfully progressed to achieve 15 per cent GDP growth in the year 2022.

He also said that close to 70 per cent of this growth is contributed by the non-petroleum sector. The country has one of the largest reserves of petroleum and 6th largest reserves of gas, therefore triggering robust production in petrochemicals, agrochemicals and pharmaceutical industries.

Governor of Cuba's Cienfuegos Province, Alexandre Corona Quintero reflected on how India has been partnering with the country for many years and through these partnerships in energy, technological, IT and communications industries.

Cuba views India as an important strategic partner and would further like to explore opportunities in the tourism, biotechnology, and healthcare sectors and establish IT parks too, Cuban Governor said further.

Samuel Alejandro García Sepúlveda, Governor of Mexico's Nuevo Leon State mentioned that tech giants like TATA and Infosys have already found immense potential in the region and are looking to further expand their subsidiaries. Being geographically closer to North America, The country ventured into near-shoring and saw almost 50 per cent growth in just six months.

Honduras' Secretary of State Rodolfo Pastor de Maria y Campos said that India has a key role to play in a rebalancing world. India has the capability and resources to support Honduras’ efforts to expand its domestic education, healthcare sectors as well as reinforce the country’s food and energy security, he said.

Antigua & Barbuda's Minister of Transportation and Investment, Henry Charles Fernandez called for greater trade facilitation measures, robust investment and technology transfers that support local industries, accelerated cooperation in healthcare, the establishment of investment promotion and protection agreements, and enhanced physical and digital connectivity between the two regions.

Bolivia's Sergio Minister of Development Planning Armando Cusicanqui Loayza said that India could play a key part in Bolivia’s economic reconstruction with particular attention on food production and industrial diversification.

Grenada's Minister for Mobilisation, Implementation and Transformation Andy Joseph Williams stated that India has an instrumental role in providing key support to small island countries that are faced with challenges coming from climate change. He also called for India’s support in the areas of healthcare and wellness, trade and development, ICT application and digitalisation of the economy.

R Dinesh, President of the Confederation of Indian Industry said the private sector is today at the forefront of strengthening the India-LAC partnership. 160 Indian companies have invested in key sectors in LAC economies.

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry in his opening remarks said the Conclave has seen the participation of 270 delegates from 26 LAC countries and 10 non-LAC countries. As many as 350 B2B meetings were conducted on day 1 of the conclave.