Canada - India Ties Are Rock Solid: Ed Fast

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New approaches will enhance relationship

By A Correspondent

Canada’s trade ties with India continue to get enriched gradually, and both the countries are committed to taking this relationship forward steadily, Honourable Ed Fast, Canada’s Minister for International Trade, declared at an interactive session organized by Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce Sunday between him and Indo-Canadian small entrepreneurs and professionals.

“Canada’s largest trading partner in South Asia and bilateral merchandise trade between our two countries is growing. It totalled $6.3 billion last year, an increase of more than 50% compared to 2010,” the Minister said.

Emphasizing new thinking and a new direction in the development of the burgeoning trade ties, the Minister said both countries have started to look beyond the traditional merchandise trade and have begun to identify areas of cooperation from diverse spheres.

For instance, cooperation in the education sector will take the bilateral ties to a different level altogether. “India needs thousands of colleges, universities and other technical institutions as it transforms its economy into a knowledge society to sustain growth. Canada is a world leader in innovation and we can provide India with the much needed knowhow in many sectors. Our educational institutions are capable to provide the resources to fill that gap for India.”

Minister Fast lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada and the finalization of the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. He said that the new policy of visa on arrival that India recently announced will help tourism in both the countries, and added that Canada is keen that India develops financial and structural reforms which will help enhance bilateral business opportunities.

Speaking on the occasion, Sanjay Makkar, President, Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce described Honourable Ed Fast as a “friend of the Chamber,” and pointed out that Sunday’s visit was the Minister’s fifth interaction with ICCC’s members in the last four years.

“Our members will understand the significance of this achievement if I contextualize it with reference to our Chamber. Mr. Fast has seen five Presidents of the Chamber as Minister of International Trade. That is longevity in politics, and in the highly competitive world of politics, such longevity doesn’t come without performance,” Mr. Makkar said.

The ICCC President said that during the Minister’s tenure, bilateral trade in merchandise rose from $5 billion to over $6 billion. “It is obvious that the Minister has a special affinity for India. In the last four years, he has visited India on four occasions.”

Both Minister Fast and ICCC President expressed confidence that the bilateral ties between Canada and India would witness an impetus once the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) was formalized. Mr. Makkar informed the Minister that sector-focused bilateral merchandise trade would be the theme of the Chamber’s annual India Mission in January 2016. He also strongly urged the minister to consider declaring 2017 as the Year of Canada in India. In 2017, Canada will be celebrating 150 years.

The interactive session saw the participation of several prominent Indo-Canadian small business owners and professionals. A lively question-answer session was conducted after Mr. Fast’s speech. ICCC’s Vice President for Sponsorship and Finance Arun Srivastava gave the welcome remarks.

JULY 2018

Vol. 12 - No. 12


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