President of Paraguay meets Manmohan Singh in Delhi
New Delhi, May 25 (ANI): The visiting President of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo Mendez, met Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh here on Friday.
The President of Paraguay, who arrived here on Wednesday on a three-day visit, is accompanied by Ministers of Foreign Affairs; Agriculture and Animal Husbandry; and Commerce and senior officials.
President Lugo will also be meeting President Pratibha Devisingh Patil during his visit.
India and Paraguay enjoy warm and friendly relations. In 2011, the trade between two countries was 152 million USD. India's exports to Paraguay were 74 million USD and imports 78 million USD.
Paraguay is an important member of MERCOSUR with which India has a Preferential Trade Agreement.
MERCOSUR is a trading bloc in Latin America comprising Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. MERCOSUR was formed in 1991 with the objective of facilitating the free movement of goods, services, capital and people among the four member countries. It is the third largest integrated market after the European Union (EU), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
A Framework Agreement had been signed between India and MERCOSUR on 17th June 2003 at Asuncion, Paraguay. The aim of this Framework Agreement was to create conditions and mechanisms for negotiations in the first stage, by granting reciprocal tariff preferences and in the second stage, to negotiate a free trade area between the two parties in conformity with the rules of the World Trade Organisation.
As a follow up to the Framework Agreement, a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) was signed in New Delhi on January 25, 2004. The aim of this Preferential Trade Agreement is to expand and strengthen the existing relations between MERCOSUR and India and promote the expansion of trade by granting reciprocal fixed tariff preferences with the ultimate objective of creating a free trade area between the parties.
The first ever visit of the President of Paraguay to India will provide an opportunity to further renew our engagement with Latin America in general and Paraguay in particular, to expand the mutually beneficial relations between the two friendly countries.
The bilateral relations between India and Paraguay were established in 1950.
The relations can be described as warm and friendly. The Indian Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is concurrently accredited to Paraguay. Paraguay opened its resident Mission in India in March 2006. (ANI)
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