After reinventing itself in the 1990s by instituting wide-ranging economic reforms, India today is flourishing. An entrepreneurial spirit has emerged here, and the economy is growing at a blistering pace.
The Government of Canada considers India to be a priority market, and we are delivering on our commitment to strengthen our relationship. Canadian companies have much to offer India, particularly in construction, architecture, design, engineering and telecommunications. It's no longer simply a case of India catching up to the world; it's becoming a case of the world catching up to India.
In March 2007, Canada led a trade mission to India to increase two-way investment, stimulate exports and focus on promoting Canada's world-class infrastructure capabilities to a market many say is unable to keep up with its economic ambitions. Then in June, the two countries concluded negotiations on a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), providing added security and predictability to the legal framework for two-way investment. The FIPA followed the signing of a Science and Technology Agreement in 2005 aimed at ensuring that the private sectors in India and Canada mutually benefit from greater cooperation on the commercial results of strategic research.
But all is not picture-perfect in the land of the Taj Mahal. The infrastructure gap is taking a heavy toll on the country, stalling growth by one to two percent. As a result, India is investing some $200 billion in infrastructure over the next 10 years-which is good news for Canada. India's need for effective transportation, power generation, environmental protection and urban planning will grow, and that's where Canada can help.
Last year, Canadian exports to India reached $1.7 billion-a 55 percent increase over 2005. Canadian imports from India reached $1.9 billion-a 7.4 percent increase over 2005. Two-way foreign direct investment increased by more than 17 percent to $528 million. Stronger growth is also anticipated in the coming years in light of the vibrant relationship developing between the business communities of both countries.
These increases are good news and show that Canadian companies are making inroads into the Indian market.