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Kolkata: State Finance and Industry minister Amit Mitra on Thursday extended invitation to 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries (LAC) for attending the 5th edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) in February 2019.”There are a number of core competency areas that we have in common. Leather, textiles manufacturing, information technology (IT) etc. are the sectors where cooperation can be fruitful. There is potential for investment which will be beneficial for both sides. There can be partnership even in the state level between Bengal and the states of LAC region,” Mitra said at a conference on ‘India– LAC Business Cooperation: Special focus on West Bengal’, organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in the city. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe minister said that one company in Bengal has recently invested in Chile for manufacturing of mining machinery. “Now it is time for the LAC countries to come and invest in Bengal. I am optimistic that many of these countries will come at BGBS and behold the advancement of Bengal in the recent past,” he said. According to Mitra, six countries have already agreed to partner Bengal in BGBS 2019, including Germany and Italy which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited in September this year. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedMitra expressed his displeasure over the role of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, in developing trade and diplomatic relationship between India and the LAC countries. “In 2014, our honourable Prime Minister visited Brazil during the BRICS summit. But unfortunately, since then the Central government has hardly engaged in talks with these countries. This has hit the diplomatic relationship between the nations. Only five diplomatic leaders from the LAC region visited India during these four years. We need to know each other more for fruitful partnership and Bengal will push the Centre to engage in more dialogues with them. Our relationship should be sustainable and on a long-term basis,” he maintained, adding that trade between India and Latin American countries that had picked up to 48 billion dollars in 2013-14, has also dropped in recent years. He also called for more Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) with the LAC region. The minister also discussed the deep cultural and social linkages between West Bengal and LAC countries and said that Bengal is one of the leading states in India in terms of human capital generation and employment creation. The event was attended by honourable Ambassadors from eighteen Latin American nations- Venezuela, Brazil, Paraguay, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Ecuador, Argentina, Panama, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Peru, Suriname, Bolivia and Uruguay. Regional Groups in LAC like ALBA, Caricom, Mercosur, Pacific Alliance & SICA gave PowerPoint presentations at the session.