March 6, 2009 (2:30 p.m. EST)
No. 61

Government of Canada Seeks Public Views on Comprehensive Economic Partnership with India

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, building on his successful recent trade visit to India, today announced that the Government of Canada is seeking advice from Canadians on developing a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India.

During his January 18-22 trip, Minister Day announced that Canada and India had agreed to initiate discussions toward an enhanced economic partnership.

"The Canada-India commercial relationship is strong and has the potential for long-term growth," said Minister Day. "These consultations will build on the report prepared last year by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Confederation of Indian Industry. Entitled India and Canada: A New Era of Cooperation, this report makes important recommendations on the future of the bilateral relationship."

While in India, Minister Day opened a new trade office in Hyderabad and announced the opening of offices in Kolkata and Ahmedabad this spring. By then, Canada will have a total of eight trade offices in one of the world's most sought-after markets. These offices provide market intelligence and expert advice to help Canadian companies take advantage of trade and investment opportunities.

Minister Day and Kamal Nath, the Indian minister of commerce and industry, also committed to implementing the Canada-India Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, which was concluded in 2007.

As well, Minister Day met with Indian nuclear officials to explore how Canada can more actively contribute to India's civilian nuclear industry.

"Two-way merchandise trade reached a record high of $4.6 billion in 2008. 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 in the next five years. Opening doors and expanding opportunities for Canadian business around the world is a priority for this government."

The public comment period will run until April 6, 2009. Details on the public consultation process were published in the Canada Gazette today at 2 p.m. EST. It can also be accessed on Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada's website.

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For further information, 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