33 Nations | 600 Million Population | GDP over $5 Trillion | Per Capita GDP$11,000
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) comprises 33 nation states of vastly different size and population. There are small island states in the Caribbean Sea; relatively small countries in Central America, alongside giant states such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. All the 33 nations form the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).
Continental South America and Central America are rich in terrestrial resources such as vast expanses of forested and agricultural land; over twenty percent of the world’s fresh water resources; extensive mineral resources including coal, iron ore, gold, nickel, copper, etc; massive reserves of oil and natural gas.
The LAC region has a combined GDP of over US$ 5 trillion and a huge market of around 600 million people, with an average per capita income over US$ 10,000 (2016).
India has recognized the potential that Latin America and the Caribbean hold for business and for India’s energy security. The relationship is not burdened with political baggage. India has been recognized by the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC), which comprises all 33 nations in the region, as an important global power and market for its resources, as well as an important partner and a source of technology and expertise in business ventures.
India’s trade with the LAC Region has grown from a mere US $ 500 million in 1990 to US$ 35 billion in 2019-20. India’s exports that year were US$ 13.7 billion, constituting 4.4% of India’s exports, while imports were US$ 21.3 billion, constituting 4.5% on India’s imports worldwide.
Indian companies have invested over US$ 16 billion in the LAC region in several sectors, including oil and gas; agri-business; mining; IT/ITes; pharmaceuticals, agro-chemicals; renewable energy; automobiles; etc. Some of the more important Indian companies such as Tatas, Mahindra and Mahindra, Hero, UPL, Infosys, Cipla have a presence in more than one country in the region.
Latin American companies have started looking beyond the markets of the US and Europe, to emerging markets such as India. Embraer, Gerdau, Perto (Brazil); Cinepolis (Mexico); and AJE (Peru), have an important presence in India.