Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Clement in India to Boost Trade, Tourism Ties

(Canwest News Service – Meagan Fitzpatrick)

Canada is wide open for business and is still a wise place to invest despite its weakened economy, federal Industry Minister Tony Clement is telling government officials and business leaders in India this week.

Clement arrived in India on Saturday for a six-day visit to New Delhi and Mumbai, and during a teleconference with reporters Monday he said his two primary objectives there are to encourage more foreign direct investment by Indian businesses in Canada, and to tap into the growing tourist market in India and convince vacationers to pick Canada as a destination.

During the last two days he met with ministers from the Indian government, held a round table with tour company operators to get feedback on how to market Canada, and met with a group of young professionals and entrepreneurs.

“The message was the same: that Canada is open for business, that we have withstood the economic turmoil relatively well, as compared to other G7 and OECD countries, our bank system is one of the few bank systems that hasn’t needed a bailout, for instance, and that we are positioned to get out of the contraction as quickly as possible and then start to grow again,” said Clement.

The industry minister said he told those he met with that Canada’s corporate tax structure and changes being made to the Investment Canada Act, the legislation that regulates investments made by non-Canadians in businesses in Canada, should make Canada an attractive location for Indian companies to grow.

Clement said Canada is signalling “our steps away from the protectionist ill-winds that are blowing.” He and his counterparts did discuss efforts by the United States Congress to include protectionist-type measures in that country’s economic stimulus package, Clement said, and they “came to the conclusion that Canada and India are on the same side” and that “protectionism had to be resisted.” Read more here.