Calling the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) grouping an “emerging trinity in the new geography of international trade,” United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) values the intra and inter regional trade close to USD 10 billion for 2007. With a mere USD 200 million in 1998, UNCTAD says this “growing dynamo” has had a quantitative jump in South-South trade is good for “IBSA trade and economic cooperation and for each country using the other partner as a gateway for intensifying inter-continental trade and investment links.”
Of this amount, India-Brazil trade is expected to get to USD 3 billion, India-South Africa is valued to USD 4 billion in 2005, and South Africa and Brazil trade is valued at USD 1.5 billion in 2004. The good news is that these numbers do not fully reflect trade in service or the quantum of trade between them through third countries, nor do they factor in the major FDI proposals and joint ventures on the anvil or even in some cases the services trade that is taking place. UNCTAD says that these unaccounted portions of trade will take the IBSA trade to a much higher number.
Heaping praise on the three nations for its unique initiative, UNCTAD says that this “ginger group” of the largest well-endowed economies in their region are aiming to strengthen trade, investment, transfer of technology, and economic cooperation among themselves. While Brazil is the largest economy in South America , South Africa is the largest in Africa . While India is the largest economy in South Asia , it is also the fourt largest economy in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms with the second most populous country and the second largest scientific population.
India ’s trade and economy has grown dramatically in the last few years doubling its global trade share (both exports and imports) from 0.8% in 2000 to 1.6% in 2005” valued at USD 206 billion. South Africa ’s global trade is valued at USD 102 billion and Brazil at USD 193 billion. Intra-grouping trade also grew rapidly with Brazil clocking 99% growth, India at 559%, and South Africa 123%. In other words, the intra-grouping trade has tripled from 1994 to 2004. Together the nations have economic strength of USD 1.8 trillion, population of 1.2 billion people, and foreign trade of nearly USD 600 billion. UNCTAD says that “IBSA partnership is also of immense strategic value for multilateral negotiations and shaping their respective roles in global economic governance.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is on a 3-day visit to Brazil and said that he hopes to “consolidate an extremely positive trend” in bilateral relations. Reiterating India ’s perception that Brazil is “one of the main partners in Latin America ,” Singh said his discussions with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva will seek to widen current relations from purely economic to include political interactions, defense cooperation, agriculture, and energy security.
South African President Thabo Mbeki will participate in the first IBSA Summit which will generally focus on issues of global concern including energy security, international terrorism, and challenges of sustainable and equitable development