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India, Brazil sign several trade agreements

India and Brazil have signed several agreements Monday, including an oil exploration and development pact, to boost economic cooperation.

delhi Updated: Jun 04, 2007 20:33 IST

India and Brazil have signed several agreements on Monday, including an oil exploration and development pact, to boost economic cooperation.

Visiting Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh watched as officials from the two sides signed agreements for cooperation in oil exploration, education, space, audiovisual co-production and assistance in customs matters.

The agreements followed a meeting between Singh and Silva, who arrived on a three-day visit in the Indian capital on Sunday, accompanied by more than 100 business executives. The oil sector cooperation agreement was signed by the chiefs of India's state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. and its overseas arm, ONGC Videsh Limited, and Brazil's Petrobras, the statement said. Oil & Natural Gas Corp., has offered Petrobras 15-40 per cent stakes in three exploration blocks on India's eastern coast, Dow Jones Newswires quoted Temarco Epifanio, a senior Petrobras executive, as saying.

Oil & Natural Gas Corp. officials were not immediately available for comment.

In return, Petrobras plans to offer 25-30 per cent stakes to ONGC in three Brazilian exploration blocks, Epifanio said. Trade between the two countries has been increasing significantly in recent years. In 2006, Indian exports to Brazil reached US$1.4 billion (euro1 billion) while imports totaled US$937 million (euro697 million), the Indian External Affairs Ministry said. Brazil and India have emerged as leaders of the Group of 20 developing nations, taking similar positions on trade issues and calling for more representation on the United Nations Security Council.

Both want to be permanent members of the Security Council, and have called for reform of the global trading system to benefit the world's poorer countries.

Silva was also to meet Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam, Sonia Gandhi, head of the governing coalition, and opposition leader Lal Krishna Advani, later on Monday.

He was to be honored with India's peace award -the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding named after the country's first prime minister.

Silva is to leave for Germany on Tuesday.

Last year, Brazil and India signed cooperation agreements in the petroleum industry, ethanol production and crop science. Under another agreement, India has slashed tariffs on a host of goods imported from the MERCOSUR group of countries comprising Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Brazil and India along with South Africa are also trying to create a free trade area.

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