Remarks by Minister Van Loan at Press Conference with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma

No. 2010/76 - Ottawa, Ontario - September 24, 2010

Check Against Delivery

I’d like to start by thanking Minister Anand Sharma [India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry] for our excellent meeting today.

Canada values our social, political and economic partnership with India. Our partnership holds many opportunities that will help Canada and India continue along the path of lasting economic recovery.

Our countries have set an ambitious goal: to increase our bilateral trade from $4.2 billion last year to $15 billion annually within the next five years.

And we’re taking steps to get there.

During this summer’s G-20 Summit, Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper joined India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to welcome the conclusion of a joint study on the possibility of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between our countries.

This study identified substantial economic gains that our countries could achieve.

Today, during Minister Sharma’s visit in Ottawa, we are pleased to release the joint study and announce the results.

We welcome and endorse the results of the joint study. The results indicate the great potential of a closer economic partnership between Canada and India.

The joint study shows that freer trade in goods and services could increase Canada’s gross domestic product by between six and 15 billion dollars on an annual basis and boost our bilateral trade with India by 50 percent, directly benefiting Canadian sectors such as forestry, energy and manufacturing.

Today, we also measured our progress in other key areas—areas critical to our partnership success in the years ahead. We agreed to the establishment of working groups in six priority areas: infrastructure, mining, energy, agri-food, education and information technology.

Other things we discussed today included:

  • the ratification process for the Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, signed during Prime Minister Singh’s visit to Canada in June;
  • progress in negotiations toward a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement—a great opportunity to boost trade between our countries and investment in particular; and
  • cooperative efforts in areas like energy, science and technology, agriculture and many others.

We will also have the opportunity later today to bring businesses together through the Canada-India CEO round table, a group of business leaders from both countries committed to strengthening our partnership in the years ahead.

The citizens of Canada and India can be proud of our efforts to bring our economies closer and to create jobs and prosperity in our countries.

I look forward to working with Minister Sharma, and with our partners in the Canada-India relationship, to do exactly that.

Thank you.