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Harper Government Consults Indo-Canadian Community on Economy

International Trade Minister Peter Van Loan and Parliamentary Secretary Bob Dechert discuss jobs, growth and Canada-India free trade

(No. 9 - January 6, 2011 - 6:45 p.m. ET) Today, the Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, and Bob Dechert, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, met with Indo-Canadian business and community leaders in Mississauga, Ontario, to discuss Canada’s economic growth and the government’s commitment to free trade with India.

“Our government is focused on economic recovery, jobs and growth,” said Minister Van Loan. “We are securing long-term economic prosperity by opening new markets for Canadian businesses and creating opportunities for Canadian workers. Our government has taken every opportunity to strengthen ties with India, especially through our negotiations toward a free trade agreement, which could boost Canada’s economy by $6 to $15 billion annually.”

“The Indo-Canadian community has played a vital role in Canada’s economic success,” said Parliamentary Secretary Dechert, who is also the member of Parliament for Mississauga-Erindale. “Our government will continue to consult with Canadians as we move further on the path to economic recovery. The values of hard-working Canadians—living within your means, reducing waste and keeping taxes low—will continue to guide us as we create even more jobs and opportunities for Canadians.”

A free trade agreement with India is one of Canada’s most important trade initiatives. Last November at the G-20 Summit in Seoul, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India announced the start of Canada-India free trade negotiations. Within four days of that announcement, during his visit to India, Minister Van Loan launched the first round of negotiations toward a free trade agreement. A Canada-India joint study concluded that a free trade agreement could increase bilateral trade by 50 percent and boost Canada’s economy by $6 to $15 billion annually.

“An agreement with India is an important part of Canada’s broad and ambitious free trade agenda, which includes negotiations with close to 50 countries. These include the members of the European Union and Ukraine,” Minister Van Loan said.

“Canada’s free trade agenda is creating new opportunities for Canadian businesses,” said Parliamentary Secretary Dechert. “These trade agreements mean jobs for Canadians and economic success for Canada.”

Since taking office in 2006, the Harper government has concluded free trade agreements with eight countries: Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama and the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Canada is also in discussions to expand existing first-generation free trade agreements with Chile, Costa Rica and Israel.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Monika Bujalska
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Peter Van Loan
Minister of International Trade

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada