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Minister Fast Discusses Job-creating Trade with Key Members of Indo-Canadian Business Community

Free trade with India could boost Canada’s economy by at least $6 billion

(No. 189 - July 7, 2011 - 11:00 a.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport) and Member of Parliament for Bramalea-Gore-Malton, today met with Indo-Canadian business leaders in Mississauga, Ont., and discussed the Harper government’s progress to date in enhancing economic cooperation between Canada and India.

“Earlier this week, Canadian and Indian officials held a successful meeting in Ottawa, where they worked toward a comprehensive economic partnership agreement,” said Minister Fast. “There is opportunity here, and we are seizing it in order to protect and strengthen the financial security of hardworking Canadians.”

A Canada-India joint study in 2010 concluded that free trade could expand Canada’s economy by at least $6 billion and increase bilateral trade with India by 50 percent.

“Forging closer Canada-India ties is a key priority for our government, and today’s round-table discussion puts even greater emphasis on this important relationship,” said Minister of State Gosal. “Our ongoing negotiations toward a free trade agreement are a clear indication of our commitment to strengthening this relationship.”

In 2010, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and India totalled $4.2 billion, an increase of 73 percent since 2004. Canadian merchandise exports to India increased 142 percent over this period, reaching nearly $2.1 billion in 2010. In 2010, two-way direct investment was more than $7 billion.

“The Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce lauds the efforts of the Harper government to improve economic relations with India,” said Satish Thakkar, President of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. “Our Chamber supports an economic partnership agreement and we believe it will result in all-around benefits.”

Over the last five years, Canada has concluded new trade agreements with eight countries and negotiations covering some 50 more are under way. This includes negotiations with the European Union, Canada’s most significant trade initiative since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“With trade representing some 60 percent of Canada’s economy, strengthening and increasing trade and investment with India is vital to our economic recovery,” concluded Minister Fast. “Building on the already strong ties we have with India will lead to new opportunities and stronger economies for both countries.”

For more information on Canada-India economic cooperation visit Economic Cooperation Between Canada and India.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Adam Taylor
Director of Communications and Tour
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
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