January 22, 2009 (12:00 p.m. EST)
No. 18

Minister Day Opens Doors to Canadian Business in India

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today concluded a successful visit to New Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai, India.

"India and Canada enjoy a strong commercial relationship, marked by growing trade and investment, and a science and technology agreement," said Minister Day. "Canada is committed to building on these successes and creating more opportunities for Canadians and Indians alike to prosper and thrive during these difficult economic times."

Following meetings in New Delhi between Minister Day and India's Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath, both ministers agreed to begin discussions toward a comprehensive economic partnership agreement. To this end, officials from both countries met and have agreed to meet again soon. The ministers also committed to quickly implementing the Canada-India Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, for which negotiations were concluded in 2007.

"India is a dynamic, rapidly growing market that represents a huge opportunity for Canadian goods, services and technology," said Minister Day. "It is our goal to triple bilateral trade to $10 billion in five years. These types of agreements are an important step in making it happen."

Minister Day met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan and Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal to explore how Canada can more actively contribute to India's civilian nuclear program.

Minister Day, accompanied by Canadian nuclear industry representatives, led a number of key meetings with Indian officials.

"Our meetings with Indian officials on the nuclear file were well received," said Minister Day. "India is very enthusiastic about using Canadian technology and resources to help build their nuclear energy capacity. Canadian companies are here and ready to make it happen."

"I know I speak on behalf of my colleagues when I say that we appreciate the leadership shown by Minister Day here in India," said Atomic Energy of Canada Limited President and Chief Executive Officer Hugh MacDiarmid. "Indian officials were very responsive during the meetings this week and we look forward to expanding our presence here."

With regard to science and technology cooperation, one of the most successful areas of Canada-India collaboration, both countries agreed to support joint activities such as research in the areas of biotechnology, health and environmental technologies. The Government of Canada wants to strengthen the already-robust collaboration between scientists from Canada and India and help enable the commercialization of their discoveries.

In Hyderabad, Minister Day officially opened Canada's new trade office in the city, one of India's most important commercial centres. He also announced the opening of an office in Kolkata and committed to opening an office in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, by the spring.

"With these new offices, Canada has established its largest number of trade offices in any country outside the United States," said Minister Day. "This new presence in India will provide market intelligence and expert advice, giving Canadian companies a competitive edge in a highly sought-after market."

In Mumbai, Minister Day expressed Canada's sorrow for the recent attacks on the city and reiterated Canada's commitment to promoting international security and fighting terrorism. He also presented a letter to Prime Minister Singh from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, conveying Canada's unwavering support.

"These attacks were despicable acts of violence," said Minister Day. "Canada is firmly united with the Government of India in condemning terrorism, and we are committed to strengthening our economic ties with Mumbai, India's commercial and cultural hub."

Canadian two-way merchandise trade with India from January to November 2008 was an all-time high of $4.24 billion, up 28.9% over the same period in 2007.

For further information, consult International Trade: Minister Day travels to India.

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For further information, and high-resolution pictures of Minister Day's visit to India, media representatives may contact:

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-6186

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000