Canada’s International Trade Minister Ed Fast Holds Second Annual Dialogue with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma

Ministers set timetable for next round of Canada-India free trade negotiations

(No. 328 - November 3, 2011 - 4:15 p.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today met with Anand Sharma, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, in Delhi. The two ministers discussed a wide range of trade-related issues and, in particular, agreed on the timing for the next round of negotiations on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA).

Annual dialogues between Canada and India were established by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June 2010 to underscore the commitment of both countries to tripling bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2015, which will create new opportunities for workers and businesses in both countries.

“A closer economic relationship between Canada and India will bring jobs and prosperity to citizens of both countries,” said Minister Fast. “Minister Sharma and I had a constructive dialogue today on a number of issues, including the CEPA and our foreign investment promotion and protection agreement. These agreements represent our shared commitment to strengthening the ties between our two countries in order to take the Canada-India partnership to the next level.”

During their dialogue, the ministers agreed to the dates for a third round of talks. These will take place in Delhi on December 13, 14 and 15, 2011. An ambitious timetable was set for further negotiations that will aim for conclusions in 2013.

A Canada-India joint study report, issued in September 2010, concluded that free trade could help boost the economies of both countries by at least $6 billion each. The conclusion of a CEPA is a priority for both countries.

The ministers also reiterated their commitment to finalizing a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA) between the two countries as soon as possible. A FIPA is designed to give investors in both countries the predictability and protection needed to ensure increased two-way investment.

The ministers recognized the importance of moving forward expeditiously with the establishment of the Canada-India Chief Executive Officer Forum, as requested by Prime Ministers Harper and Singh. They took opportunity of the occasion to name the organizations that will serve as the secretariats for the CEO Forum. On the Canadian side, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives will provide a range of services to support the work of the Forum in Canada; on the Indian side support will be provided by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The establishment of the CEO Forum was announced at the first Canada-India ministerial dialogue in Ottawa in September 2010. The Forum will serve as a mechanism for the private sector to help foster increased trade and investment ties between the two countries.

“I appreciate this opportunity to sit down with Minister Sharma in this dialogue to touch on a wide range of bilateral and multilateral commercial issues,” said Minister Fast. “Trade stimulates economic growth, increases competition, attracts foreign investment and bolsters technology exchanges. Most importantly, it creates jobs for hard-working Canadians. A trade agreement with India, for example, could deliver commercial benefits to Canadian companies across many sectors of our economy, including forestry, minerals, manufacturing and agriculture.”

The annual ministerial dialogue followed a bilateral meeting between ministers Fast and Sharma on September 23, 2011, in New York City, during the United Nations General Assembly. The ministers will meet again at the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Geneva.

Minister Fast is on a trade mission to India from November 3 to 9, 2011. During his visit, the Minister will travel to Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune and Mumbai to help strengthen trade and investment ties between Canada and India.

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

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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
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