Monday, September 27, 2010

Ministers Announce Findings of Study on Trade Agreement Between Canada and India

(Minister of International Trade)

(The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today [Friday] announced public release of the results of a joint study on the benefits of free trade between Canada and India. The Minister made the announcement in Ottawa together with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, following the First Annual Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment.

“Minister Sharma and I welcomed and endorsed the Joint Study Group recommendation that negotiations should be initiated toward a substantive and ambitious trade agreement that would be to our countries’ mutual benefit,” said Minister Van Loan. “The agreement would help us meet our mutual goal of increasing bilateral trade to $15 billion annually within the next five years.”

The study shows that freer trade in goods and services between Canada and India could also increase Canada’s gross domestic product by at least US$6 billion, boost bilateral trade with India by 50 percent, and directly benefit Canadian sectors like forestry, energy and manufacturing.

“Canada’s trade and investment partnership with India is on an exciting path, and an economic partnership agreement will further broaden and deepen that partnership,” said Minister Van Loan. “Our government has made India a key priority in Canada’s foreign and trade policy agenda.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India announced the establishment of the Ministerial Dialogue during Prime Minister Singh’s recent visit to Canada. That visit and last year’s visit to India by Prime Minister Harper have underlined both countries’ dedication to their bilateral relationship.

During their meeting, Ministers Van Loan and Sharma reviewed the progress of negotiations on a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement, which will stimulate increased investment flows between the two countries.

The ministers place a high value on the input of Canadian and Indian businesses, and look forward to the prompt establishment of an India-Canada Chief Executive Officer (CEO) forum. The forum was one of the initiatives discussed during Prime Minister Harper’s visit to India in November 2009.

The CEO forum will be made up of leading Canadian and Indian business representatives, who will provide advice on improving investment and trade between Canada and India. The CEO forum will regularize the India-Canada CEO round tables that have been taking place on the margins of ministerial visits. Later today, the ministers will participate in the third such round table, with key CEOs and business leaders, including Pierre Duhaime, President and CEO of SNC-Lavalin Group; Richard Legault, President and CEO of Brookfield Renewable Power; Hari Bhartia, President of the Confederation of Indian Industry, and Co-Chairman and Managing Director of Jubilant Organosys Ltd.; and Deep Kapuria, Chairman of Hi-Tech Gears Ltd.

“The Government of Canada is creating an environment that allows Canadian technological innovations and commercial expertise to reach more markets,” said Minister Van Loan. “Our government is committed to opening global markets, including India, for Canadian companies through an aggressive free trade agenda that includes promoting investment and fighting protectionism.”

For more information, please see the Canada-India Joint Study Group Report.