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Canada Committed to Opening New Global Markets for Canadian Businesses

Success of Canadian companies abroad will be a key driver of prosperity at home, says International Trade Minister Ed Fast

(No. 331 - November 5, 2011 - 10:30 a.m. ET) The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today underscored the importance of concluding a trade agreement with India during a tour of McCain Foods International’s manufacturing facility in Mehsana, India, stating it is a top priority in the Harper government’s low-tax, job-creating, pro-trade plan.

“International trade is a kitchen-table issue, a matter of fundamental importance to how people around the world put food on the table and help their families make ends meet,” said Minister Fast. “A trade agreement with India has the potential to boost Canada’s economy and create prosperity for hard-working Canadians. Our aim is to conclude a deal in 2013 that would boost two-way trade between Canada and India and create jobs and opportunities for Canadian businesses and their workers.”

McCain Foods Limited is an international leader in the frozen-food industry, employing about 19,000 people and operating 50 production facilities on six continents.

“Canadian companies such as McCain are well positioned to facilitate and accelerate India’s continued economic growth and provide the services and products India’s booming middle class and consumer base need,” said Rajeev Chauhan, general manager at the McCain plant in Mehsana. “We appreciate the work both governments are doing to create a Canada-India partnership that could lead to new opportunities for future growth.”

While meeting in Delhi, Minister Fast and India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, announced an ambitious timetable for trade talks that aims to complete Canada-India trade negotiations in 2013. The next round of talks—the third—will take place on December 13, 14 and 15, 2011, in India.

The Canada-India Joint Study Group Report, issued in September 2010, concluded that a trade agreement with India could help Canada’s economy grow by at least $6 billion and directly benefit Canadian sectors ranging from agricultural, energy and natural resources to manufacturing, infrastructure and services.

“In these globally challenging economic times, deepening our trade ties around the world is a win-win for Canada and its trading partners,” said Minister Fast. “Canadians benefit from the good jobs, deepened prosperity and consumer benefits that come from increased trade. In turn, our international partners share in the benefits of an ever-expanding middle-class and an improved standard of living that is lifting more of the world’s population out of poverty by the day.”

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 in November 2010. The joint announcement, and the visit to India by Prime Minister Harper in 2009, underscored the dedication of both countries to meeting their mutual goal of tripling bilateral trade to $15 billion annually by 2015.

In less than six years, Canada has concluded new trade agreements with nine countries and is negotiating many other agreements, including with the European Union.

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

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A backgrounder follows.

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

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

Backgrounder - McCain Foods Ltd.

McCain Foods Ltd. is an international leader in the frozen-food industry, employing approximately 19,000 people and operating 50 production facilities on six continents. A privately owned company headquartered in Florenceville, New Brunswick, and in Toronto, McCain generates annual sales of about $6 billion. McCain is the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato specialties and also produces other food products, including pizza, appetizers, oven meals, juice and desserts. The company’s products can be found in thousands of restaurants and supermarket freezers in more than 160 countries around the world. McCain also owns Day & Ross Inc., which is based in Hartland, New Brunswick, and is one of the largest transportation companies in Canada.