Canada-India Partnership Deepening
By A Correspondent
A Canada-India trade agreement would create new jobs and opportunities for workers and small and medium-sized businesses
The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), met in Brampton, Ontario, on May 17, with members of the Indo-Canadian business community to highlight the benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of an ambitious Canada-India comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA). The event’s hosts were the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and the Brampton Board of Trade.
“With SMEs accounting for more than 99 percent of companies in Canada, our government understands the crucial role that these businesses play in generating jobs, growth and prosperity in every region of our country,” said Minister Fast. “That’s why we continue to work hard to open new markets for our exporters in the largest, most dynamic and fastest-growing economies in the world, including India.”
To date, the Canada-India trade negotiations have undergone seven official rounds. A CEPA would benefit Canadian workers and SMEs by eliminating or reducing tariffs on goods, cutting red tape and facilitating trade in services. Canada has identified core economic opportunities in India in the energy, agriculture, infrastructure and education sectors.
“Further fuelling Canada’s growing trade with India are our strong people-to-people ties,” said Minister Gosal. “Nearly one million Canadians of Indian descent enrich our communities in cities and towns across Canada, and our government is committed to utilizing these strong links to build a partnership that will lead to new opportunities and new sources of prosperity in both countries.”
Speaking on the occasion, Naval Bajaj, President, ICCC, said, “ICCC greatly appreciate all your efforts for early conclusion of both the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) and foreign investment promotion and protection agreement. We believe that in in the years to come, we need to develop multi-level engagement with India for unlocking the full potential of Canada-India partnership.”
Bajaj suggested that going forward, Canada and India need to engage their epistemic communities - networks of researchers, traders, businesses, alumni associations, friends, among others to generate support for building economic partnerships that are robust, vibrant and synergistic. “This will also help in the drawing up the right India strategy for Canada, which recognizes that the economic and commercial relationship is a two-way street and which begets optimal and mutual benefits to the two countries.”
Satish Thakkar, Immediate Past President, ICCC; Steve Sheils, the Chief Executive Officer of Brampton Board of Trade; and Badar Shammin, Member of BBOT’s International Trade Committee were the other speakers at the event that was attended by local businesses.