The coming together of India, Brazil and South Africa to strengthen the economic partnership is a major development in the area of South-South Cooperation. The three partners represent leading economies in their respective continents and bring together an array of complementary strengths and capabilities that could be exploited for mutual benefit. They have shared political and economic history and development experiences. There are significant synergies between these countries as they have developed substantial capabilities in different sectors over the years. But these synergies are yet to be fully utilised for their collective benefit and development of the South in general. IBSA countries can reinforce the economic strength of each other by synergising their complementarities in areas of industry, services, trade and technology which in turn could create a market of 1.3 billion people, US$2 trillion of GDP and foreign trade of nearly US$ 540 billion in 2005. IBSA partnership is also of immense strategic value for multilateral negotiations and shaping their respective roles in the global governance.The cooperation between India, Brazil and South Africa has potential of having important spillovers for the partners of each of these countries in their respective sub-regional groupings, namely, SAARC in the case of India, MERCOSUR in the case of Brazil, SACU in the case of South Africa.
Therefore, IBSA partnership could make a major contribution to the economic development of three sub-regions across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.RIS, in this study, makes an exploratory attempt to examine the potential of IBSA economic partnership in the areas of trade in goods, services, investments, techno-logy cooperation and other areas of economic cooperation. The study finds an enormous potential of economic cooperation between the three countries given the extensive complementarities and synergistic capabilities that can make cooperation in a number of sectors highly fruitful. It makes a number of recommendations for exploiting this potential of the IBSA economic partnership.Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) is an autonomous policy think-tank, established in 1984 in New Delhi, and specialised in trade and development issues. Its work programme focuses on multilateral trade negotiations, regional economic integration in Asia, new technologies and development, South-South Cooperation and strategic responses to globalisation.The work of RIS is published in the form of research reports, books, discussion papers and journals.