International Trade Minister Undertakes Trade Mission to India to Deepen Canada-India Trade and Investment Ties

(No. 326 - November 2, 2011 – 8:30 a.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, will begin a week-long trade mission to India. The purpose of the mission is to strengthen Canada-India trade and investment ties, meet with Indian government ministers to advance key policy interests, meet with Indian business leaders to showcase Canadian know-how and capabilities, attract Indian investment to Canada, and advance the commercial interests of Canadian businesses seeking new opportunities in this priority market.

“With 1.2 billion consumers, India presents tremendous opportunities for Canadian businesses of all sizes,” said Minister Fast. “Given that one in five jobs and more than 60 percent of Canada’s economy depend on trade, deepening Canada’s trading relationship with India will help protect and strengthen the financial security of hard-working Canadians.”

Minister Fast will be in India from November 3 to 9, 2011, and will travel to the cities of Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune and Mumbai to pursue Canadian interests in a focused set of key sectors (detailed below). India’s growing economy is increasing its demand for products, services and expertise. Last year, India’s GDP was $1.7 trillion and its economy grew by an annual average of 8.2 percent between 2006 and 2010—an indication that the Indian economy is well on its way to being one of the largest in the world.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have committed to tripling the two countries’ trade by 2015—to $15 billion. The Indian market presents enormous opportunities for Canadian business due to its strong economic growth, growing middle class and increasing—and relatively young—population.  

Sectors where there are opportunities for Canadian businesses include:

  • Agriculture and agri-food (Ahmedabad/Mumbai): While Canada is already providing 38.3 percent of India’s pulse imports, its growing population and demand presents an enormous opportunity for Canadian producers.
  • Energy (Ahmedabad/Mumbai): India needs to quintuple its electricity within 25 years and is looking for alternative energy sources to meet this demand.
  • Infrastructure (Delhi/Ahmedabad/Mumbai): The Government of India has identified the need for an investment of $800 billion in infrastructure, including roads, bridges, railways, ports and airports.
  • Information and communications technology (Delhi): Canadian expertise in digital media and wireless technologies, among other areas, can help India to provide communications access to people living in remote areas of the country.
  • Education (Delhi): Canadian know-how can help bridge the large gap between the supply of and demand for educational facilities and address the shortage of qualified educators.
  • Manufacturing (Delhi/Pune): India is the world’s second-fastest growing automotive market, after China. Canada, as the third-largest exporter of automotive products after Japan and the United States, is well positioned to be part of this global value chain.

During his visit, Minister Fast will also meet with his counterpart, Anand Sharma, India’s Minister for Commerce and Industry, for the Second Annual Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment. The ministers will discuss how Canada and India can deepen trade and investment ties and highlight progress on negotiations toward a comprehensive economic partnership agreement.

“As part of our government’s job-creating, pro-trade plan, reaching a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India is a top priority,” said Minister Fast. “The Canada-India joint study shows that a trade agreement with India could help our economy grow by $6 billion a year and increase our two-way trade by more than 50 percent. In order to protect and strengthen the financial security of Canadians during these uncertain global economic times, our government is committed to deepening Canada’s trade and investment ties with India. The Canada-India relationship will be critical to the prosperity of Canadian businesses and hard-working Canadians and their families, now and in the future.”

In 2010, bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and India totalled $4.2 billion, an increase of 46.6 percent since 2005. In 2010, the stock of two-way direct investment was more than $7 billion.

For more information and updates on Minister Fast’s trade mission to India, please visit: Trade Mission to India.

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Rudy Husny
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Ed Fast
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway
613-992-7332

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-996-2000
Follow us on Twitter: @Canada_Trade