Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Faced with shortage of edible oils and the continued rise in inflation, India on Wednesday sought partnership from Brazil, a major producer of soya oil, to tide over the present crisis.

Speaking at a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) sponsored summit here, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said Brazil had strength in agriculture.

“We are facing food crisis and there is crisis of soya oil. We seek to create a new partnership between India and Brazil.”

This was stated by Mr. Kamal Nath in the presence of the Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Miguel Jorge. Mr. Kamal Nath said the world was facing a food crisis, but people were concerned only over the US sub-prime crisis. ``The sub-prime crisis is being talked about and the food crisis is not talked about,” he said. Faced with rising prices of edible oils, the Union government had slashed duties on import of palm oil and few other varieties of cooking oil but not on soya oil.

Prices of edible oils have shot up by over 30 per cent at the retail level in the last few months, while the inflation, on the basis of the Wholesale Price Index, was about to touch the six-per cent mark. “India and Brazil must continue to be close partners in the United Nations, World Trade Organization (WTO) and international fora on issues such as social development, health care, sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation,” Mr. Kamal Nath said.

India’s trade with Brazil has jumped to $3.12 billion in 2007 from a mere $488 million in 2000. The two sides have set a target of $10 billion trade by 2010.

Deeper economic ties

P. K. Bhardwaj writes:

India and Brazil are emerging as engines of growth in the changing world economic scenario and the business community in the two countries must work more closely to realise the potential, said Kamal Nath.

Addressing industry representatives of the two countries at a meeting ‘India-Brazil, partners for growth,’ organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here, he said that the world was looking at these two developing countries to lead it.

The entire tone of the WTO negotiations was different because Brazil and India partnered together on many issues.