Canada a Free Trade Leader, Says Minister Van Loan

Trade relations with India a priority

(No. 291 – September 14, 2010 – 6:30 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today spoke to members of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and Brampton’s Indian business community about the Harper government’s commitment to growing Canada’s trade relationship with India.

“Canada’s trade and investment partnership with India is on an exciting path—one that holds great promise for both countries as we continue toward lasting economic recovery,” said Minister Van Loan. “Our government has made India a key priority in Canada’s foreign and trade policy agenda.”

The recent visit to Canada by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and last year’s visit to India by Prime Minister Stephen Harper have underlined both countries’ dedication to their bilateral relationship. The two leaders have committed to expanding the Canada-India relationship to increase bilateral trade to $15 billion annually in the next five years. 

Minister Van Loan said that he looks forward to welcoming India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, to Canada in the next few weeks. This is the first meeting of the two ministers since the prime ministers announced their commitment to an annual dialogue on trade and investment. Minister Van Loan also said that he welcomes the findings of the joint study group on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between India and Canada.

“The Government of Canada is creating an environment that allows Canadian companies to succeed in global markets and put this recession behind us,” said Minister Van Loan. “Canada is recognized as a leader in free trade. Our government is committed to opening global markets for Canadian companies through an aggressive free trade agenda that includes promoting investment and fighting protectionism.”

Minister Van Loan also highlighted the importance that Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service plays in helping Canadian companies explore new commercial opportunities. A recent study shows that companies who seek support from the Service export more and are more market-diversified than those who do not.

The Government of Canada continues to move forward with an aggressive free trade agenda. In addition to discussions on an economic partnership with India, Canada is also negotiating a trade agreement with the European Union.

In less than four years, the Government of Canada has concluded new free trade agreements with Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama and the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Monika Bujalska
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Peter Van Loan
Minister of International Trade
613-992-9304

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