Chilean Ambassador to India Cristian Barros on Thursday called upon the Union Government to expedite the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Chile as it would provide “windows of opportunity” for Indian firms in Latin American markets.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Business opportunities between India and Chile,' organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), he said that Chile had signed 20 FTAs with 56 countries representing 90 per cent of the world's Gross Domestic Product. Besides, it had a wide range of double taxation treaties, including a Preferential Trade Agreement, with India. It was negotiating to expand it to an FTA.

“It is important to have an FTA agreement with big countries such as India. The signing of FTA will allow India to deal with various FTAs signed in the region.”

“Chile is the largest producer of copper in the world and the biggest exporter of fresh fruits. The country ranks second in yield of salmon and trout and eighth in manufacture of wine. Chile is the fifth largest exporter of wine in the world. During the coming years, we are planning to make India one of the top most wine destinations. Come and make Chile your partner,” he said.

In his presentation, ProChile Minister Counselor (Commercial), Nestor Riveros, said: “Ours is an open economy. Chile is a partner you can trust. The FTA will enable India to do business faster than what it is doing today. FTA will result in reciprocal investment; cultural and academic exchanges; science and technology co-operation and expand bilateral trade.”

Mr. Riveros called upon the Indian firms to invest in sectors such as mining, food, agriculture, diary products, biotech, renewable energy and global services.

“The bilateral trade between the two countries during 2009 was $2,300 million and it will be the same for 2010. During the current year, we received foreign investment of $40 billion and we are getting delegations from India, particularly in IT and textile sectors. In the last three months, Chile has posted an economic growth of seven per cent.”

He said business visas with multiple entries would be introduced in 2011.

On his maiden three-day visit to Chennai, Cristian Barros will call on top government officials, visit some of the iconic companies and take part in wine tasting of Chilean wine.