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Far and Wide | January 2024 (I)

This week’s headline features a story from Asia; India's External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, stated that trade negotiations for a free trade deal with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will commence in January during a conference in Moscow. 

Europe: As the US recently reduced sanctions on Venezuela amid new legal and trade arrangements, global powers are thus eying Venezuelan crude wealth. Venezuela has one of the largest crude reserves worldwide, but its capabilities haven't been utilized well so far due to political and economic constraints. Venezuela could represent a steady source of oil imports for EU markets, in turn playing a role in energy security in the old continent.

North America: Several Chinese EV manufacturers, including BYD, Chery, and MG, are planning to establish factories in Mexico, taking advantage of the free trade agreement (USMCA) between Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. According to the Mexican Association of Automotive Distributors, Mexico’s imports of Chinese cars (both EVs and traditional ones), increased 62.6% during the first eight months of this year compared to the same period last year.

South America: According to a report published in December 2023 from Bank of America, the Southern region of the US is poised to play a bigger role in the American economy and the US population is clustering in the South, and economic growth has followed.

Asia: According to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, an agreement with the EEU bloc for a free trade deal is to be signed in January 2024, which will open the lucrative Central Asian consumer market to Indian goods. It will also entrench the expansion of Indian products in Russia, which has suffered a flight of Western brands and goods after Russia attacked Ukraine early last year.

Australia: Despite an import surge, one year after the India-Australia Economic and Trade Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) came into effect, engineering exports to Australia reached USD 944 million in April-November 2023-24, a 3 per cent increase. Pointing towards a positive engineering trade balance of USD 471 million between April and October 2023-24, as stated by EEPC India chairman Arun K Garodia. 

Africa: The expansion of BRICS:  Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates formally joined the BRICS group as announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on his country taking over the presidency of the group. According to the IMF, the expanded BRICS now accounts for 36% of global GDP in terms of purchasing power parity, surpassing that of the G7, an informal grouping of Western countries.

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