Launch of Free Trade Talks Highlight of Minister Van Loan’s Trip to India

Harper government moves forward on ambitious free trade agenda

(No. 367 - November 18, 2010 - 1:40 p.m. ET) Today, the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, concluded a four-day visit to India. During his visit, Minister Van Loan launched the negotiations toward a free trade agreement between Canada and India and promoted the benefits of trade and investment between the countries.

“Our government continues to move forward on our ambitious free trade agenda,” said Minister Van Loan. “A Canada-India free trade agreement would boost Canada’s economy by $6 to $15 billion. It would increase bilateral trade with India by 50 percent, open new markets for Canadian companies and help create jobs for Canadian workers.”

While in New Delhi, Minister Van Loan co-chaired the launch of the free trade negotiations with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma. He also participated in the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit, where he highlighted Canada’s continuing commitment to strengthening business ties with India. Last year, Canada opened three new trade offices in India—in Hyderabad, Kolkata and Ahmedabad—and increased resources for New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. India now has Canada’s third-largest trade network abroad.

In Mumbai, the Minister opened the trading session at the Bombay Stock Exchange and outlined Canada’s business advantages as a trade and investment partner to the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber.

“Canada’s competitive advantages, excellence, depth of talent, innovation and creativity offer a great environment to potential investors from around the globe,” said Minister Van Loan. “Trade and investment benefit Canada by creating jobs, raising incomes and strengthening Canada’s competitive position.”

Canadian companies are enjoying increasing success in the Indian market. Canadian exports to India have increased by 150 percent in the last six years, with merchandise exports growing to $2.1 billion in 2009. Also in 2009, the stock of foreign direct investment in Canada from India totalled $3 billion, an increase of 11.4 percent since 2008.

For additional information on the free trade negotiations with India, consult Minister Van Loan Launches Free Trade Talks with India.

For more details on Minister Van Loan’s visit, please go to 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