Minister Van Loan Launches Free Trade Talks with India

Canada-India free trade will boost economy and create jobs for Canadians

(No. 364 - November 16, 2010 - 9:45 a.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today launched free trade negotiations with India during his visit to New Delhi. At the opening session of these negotiations, Minister Van Loan highlighted the importance of cooperation and creativity in reaching a broad and ambitious free trade agreement.

“A Canada-India free trade agreement has the potential to boost Canada’s economy by $6 to $15 billion and increase trade between our two countries by 50 percent,” said Minister Van Loan while co-chairing the launch of negotiations with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma. “Our government is committed to building on our already strong ties with India to create a partnership that will lead to new jobs, new opportunities and stronger economies for both Canada and India.”

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India announced the start of free trade negotiations during the G-20 Summit in Seoul earlier this month. That announcement and last year’s visit to India by Prime Minister Harper underscore the dedication of both countries to their bilateral trade relationship.

“Today’s launch has set a positive, ambitious tone that will carry the negotiations to a successful outcome,” said Minister Van Loan. “Free trade with India is an important part of our government’s broad free trade agenda of opening markets for Canadian businesses and creating new jobs for Canadian workers.”

A recent joint study concluded that free trade could boost Canada’s economy by $6 to $15 billion, increase bilateral trade with India by 50 percent, and directly benefit Canadian sectors ranging from primary agricultural, resource-related and chemical products to transport equipment, machinery and equipment, and services. A free trade agreement would also help Canada and India meet a mutual goal of increasing bilateral trade to $15 billion annually within the next five years.

Over the last four years, the Harper government has concluded new trade agreements with eight countries and is holding ongoing negotiations with close to 50 others. This includes current free trade negotiations with the European Union, Canada’s most significant trade initiative since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

For more information, please visit Canada-India Joint Study Group Report and Ministerial visit to India.

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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

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada