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India-Peru Trade Agreement : Seventh round of talks kick-start

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NEW DELHI : Taking a step forward in India-Peru trade relations, the seventh round of India-Peru Trade Agreement negotiations have kick started. As reported earlier by Financial Express Online, the talks will continue till Apri 11, and the proposed agreement aims to strengthen bilateral trade and investments by reducing or eliminating customs duties on goods and promoting trade in services.

According to the Department of Commerce, “This initiative is a testament to India’s commitment towards strengthening bilateral ties and fostering economic growth between India and Peru.”

Top diplomats told Financial Express Online that “Approximately 17 negotiators are part of the Peruvian delegation and talks are being led by Ambassador Javier Paulinich.” According to information available, the team includes the Peruvian Ambassador to India as well as Peru’s Director of Asia, Oceanía and Africa trade and representatives of the Ministry of Commerce and Tourism.

The negotiations between the two countries started way back in 2017 and had to be paused when the Covid-19 pandemic literally brought to a standstill. Later, it was resumed with a virtual round in October 2023. Duty concessions on gold, which accounts for 80% of its imports from Peru remains as one of the most challenging issues for India.

Development during sixth round of talks

According to officials, in the sixth round held in February, nine working groups held in-person meetings. The agenda for these meetings included rules of origin, trade in goods, trade in services, customs procedures, movement of natural persons, trade facilitation and dispute settlement.

A move aimed at diversification of import of essential minerals and metals is one of key topics discussed. As indicated by officials speaking to Financial Express in February, India-Peru Trade Agreement is likely to be wrapped up end of this year.

Gold imports from Peru

Gold made up US$1.8 billion or 80 percent of what India bought from Peru in FY23, as per a report by GTRI. Import tax on gold in India is 15 percent, which includes a basic custom tax of 10 percent and an agriculture development tax of 5 percent.

Interestingly, in the recent trade deal with the EFTA bloc (Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein), India did not lower tariffs on gold much.

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