Minister Ed Fast Says Growing Trade with India Fuelled by Strong People-to-People Ties

International Trade Minister attends start of Brand India Expo 2012 in Ottawa

March 13, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today told participants at the Brand India Expo 2012 in Ottawa that the growing Canada-India partnership shows the critical role strong people-to-people ties play, as both countries continue to negotiate a comprehensive trade agreement.

“Since leading a trade mission to India last November, I am more convinced than ever that the growing Canada-India trade and investment relationship will benefit hardworking Canadians and Indians alike,” Minister Fast told Expo organizers and participants.

Bilateral merchandise trade between Canada and India increased more than 22 percent from 2010, reaching $5.1 billion in 2011. This included an astonishing year-over-year increase of 332 percent in aircraft sales.

Minister Fast said Canada’s strong people-to-people ties with India were a key reason for the robust year-over-year growth. “With more than a million Canadians of Indian origin, our growing trade relationship shows how our people-to-people ties are helping us to deepen the Canada-India relationship,” he said.

Minister Fast also identified a number of recent announcements that further demonstrate the depth and breadth of the Canada-India relationship, including:

  • Bombardier Inc.’s “breakthrough” propulsion systems contract worth US$214 million to power regional trains in India (November 2011);
  • Export Development Canada announcement of US$100 million in financing to India’s Tata Motors Limited (TML) to open doors to procurement from Canadian companies within the greater TML family of companies (February 2012);
  • The winning of three government tenders by Canada’s Semex Alliance and Provet Genetics India since the two companies joined forces in February 2012. The two companies will provide bull semen worth more than $1 million to Punjab, Kerala and Karnataka states;
  • The announcement earlier this month by Indian company MphasiS to open a facility on Prince Edward Island. The facility will initially employ 100 information technology employees, growing to 300 in two years; and
  • The opening of offices of Canadian universities and colleges in India to develop academic and research partnerships with Indian universities and to attract high-quality students to study in Canada.

“These examples are proof that Canadian and Indian businesses alike are committed to a deeper and mutually beneficial trade and investment relationship. This will help both countries reach the ambitious goal our prime ministers have committed us to, which is to reach $15 billion in bilateral trade in 2015,” said Minister Fast.

“That’s also why Anand Sharma, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, and I have instructed our negotiators on a Canada-India comprehensive economic partnership to redouble their efforts to complete negotiations in 2013,” added Minister Fast.

A Canada-India joint study concluded that a trade agreement between the two countries could boost Canada’s economy by at least $6 billion. A trade agreement with India would eliminate or reduce tariffs on Canadian goods, liberalize trade in services and directly benefit Canadian businesses and workers in all regions of Canada in sectors such as primary agriculture, resource-related and chemical products, transport equipment, and machinery and equipment.

The fourth round of negotiations on a trade agreement took place in New Delhi in February 2012, and a fifth negotiating round is scheduled to take place in April or May.

The Brand India Expo brings together industry experts to discuss projects and pursue investment opportunities to enhance bilateral trade. It was organized by the Indian high commission in Ottawa. Nabam Tuki, Chief Minister of India’s Arunachal Pradesh state, attended.

For more information, see Furthering the Canada-India Relationship.

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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