India to bid for hydrocarbon projects in Argentina; also to sign an agreement on Lithium

Argentina has invited companies from India to participate in the oil and gas exploration bidding rounds likely to be organized by the Argentine provinces. Additionally, India and Argentina are also having talks to implement an agreement in the field of lithium signed between the Indian company KABIL and Argentine JEMSE in July 2020.

KABIL (Khanij Bidesh India Ltd.) has been formed by the Indian government to ensure a consistent supply of critical and strategic minerals to the Indian domestic market. KABIL will be set up in joint partnership between three Central Public Sector Enterprises including National Aluminium Company Ltd.(NALCO), Hindustan Copper Ltd. (HCL) and Mineral Exploration Company Ltd (MECL). The equity participation between NALCO, HCL and MECL in the company is in the ratio of 40:30:30. KABIL has been set up primarily to develop India’s reserves in two critical elements of the future, Lithium and cobalt. India has no known reserves of these elements.

After a gap of nearly three decades, the third meeting of the India-Argentina Joint Trade Committee (JTC) was held earlier this week. This JTC is part of the ongoing process of convening several specialized bilateral meetings that were preceded this year by the Joint Working Group on Agriculture and the fifth round of Foreign Office Consultations. Bilateral dialogues on the nuclear, space and defense fields will also be followed by the JTC.

The meeting which was held through video conferencing focused on further enhancing the ongoing trade in the agricultural sector, as well as deepening cooperation in various other sectors including mining and minerals, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals and IT and conventional and non-conventional oil & gas.

In 2019 bilateral trade between India and Argentina grew by 19 percent. Meanwhile, in the first 7 months of 2020, and despite the negative effects of the pandemic on international trade, bilateral trade has continued to increase: Argentine exports to India grew by 8.9% while exports from India grew 9.4% compared with the same period of the previous year, according to media reports. 

The long-pending expansion of the India-MERCOSUR trade was also discussed and the two countries have agreed to continue their cooperation on relevant multilateral forums, such as G-20 and WTO.

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