With Canada and India hoping to conclude a trade agreement by 2013, Canada's Minister of International Trade has said that growing bilateral trade between the two countries is fuelled by 'strong people-to-people ties'.
Speaking at the Brand India Expo 2012 in Ottawa, Ed Fast said that “since leading a trade mission to India last November, I am more convinced than ever that the growing Canada-India trade and investment relationship will benefit hardworking Canadians and Indians alike.” He added that: "With more than a million Canadians of Indian origin, our growing trade relationship shows how our people-to-people ties are helping us to deepen the Canada-India relationship."
During his speech, Fast pointed to a more than 22% growth in bilateral merchandise trade in 2011, worth CAD5.1bn. Included in this figure was what Fast called an astonishing 332% year-on-year increase in aircraft sales.
Fast also identified a number of recent announcements that further demonstrate the depth and breadth of the Canada-India relationship. These include:
• Bombardier Inc.’s “breakthrough” propulsion systems contract worth USD214m to power regional trains in India, concluded in November, 2011.
• Export Development Canada February, 2012 announcement of USD100m in financing to India’s Tata Motors Limited to open doors to procurement from Canadian companies within the greater TML family of companies.
• The winning of three government tenders by Canada’s Semex Alliance and Provet Genetics India since the two companies joined forces in February, 2012. Fast said the two companies will provide bull semen worth more than CAD 1m to Punjab, Kerala and Karnataka states.
• The announcement in March, 2012 by Indian company MphasiS will open a facility on Prince Edward Island. The facility will initially employ 100 information technology employees, growing to 300 in two years.
• The opening of offices of Canadian universities and colleges in India to develop academic and research partnerships with Indian universities and to attract high-quality students to study in Canada.
“These examples are proof that Canadian and Indian businesses alike are committed to a deeper and mutually beneficial trade and investment relationship. This will help both countries reach the ambitious goal our prime ministers have committed us to, which is to reach CAD15bn in bilateral trade in 2015,” Fast stressed.
Turning to the current talks on a trade agreement, Fast said: “That’s also why Anand Sharma, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, and I have instructed our negotiators on a Canada-India comprehensive economic partnership to redouble their efforts to complete negotiations in 2013."
According to a Canada-India joint study this trade agreement could boost Canada’s economy by at least CAD 6bn. It would see the elimination or reduction of tariffs on Canadian goods, and a liberalization of the trade in services. The study also concluded that a deal would directly benefit Canadian businesses and workers in sectors such as primary agriculture, resource-related and chemical products, transport equipment, and machinery and equipment.
The fourth round of negotiations took place in New Delhi in February, 2012. A fifth negotiating round is scheduled to take place in April or May.