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Canada, India Conclude Latest FTA Talks

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

17 February 2012

Canada and India hope to complete negotiations on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement in 2013, ministers say, as the latest round of trade talks concludes.

The two countries held the fourth round of trade negotiations in Delhi from February 13-16, with Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport), welcoming the news.

Gosal highlighted the importance of the trade talks at Brar Sweets, a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) in Brampton, Ontario. It is businesses such as this that government says will benefit from deeper trade and investment ties with India. The Minister also held a pre-Budget consultation and reiterated the Harper government’s commitment to deepening Canada’s trade ties in high-growth markets around the world.

Gosal said, “Jobs and the economy are our government’s number one priority. Canada’s ambitious pro-trade plan is opening new markets and opportunities for Canadian businesses and jobs for Canadian workers. A Canada-India trade agreement holds great promise for the critical small and medium-sized business sector, a message I heard clearly in my discussions today.”

Satish Thakkar, president of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC), commented, “The successful conclusion of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement would lead to more opportunities for Canadian SMEs to enhance their engagement with India.”

According to a Canada-India joint study, a trade agreement could boost Canada’s economy by at least CAD6bn. The Canadian government says that the deal will eliminate or reduce tariffs on goods, liberalize trade in services and directly reward Canadian businesses and workers in all regions of Canada. In particular, sectors including primary agriculture, resource-related and chemical products, transport equipment, and machinery and equipment, will feel the benefit.

Earlier this year, Fast met with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Remarking on the latest round of trade talks, Fast said, “Minister Sharma and I have agreed to instruct our respective negotiators to redouble efforts on an ambitious schedule to complete negotiations on a Canada-India comprehensive economic partnership agreement in 2013. Toward that end, I am pleased to report that progress was made in the fourth round and that a fifth negotiating round is scheduled to take place in Ottawa in April. Increased trade and investment will create more jobs and increase prosperity for hardworking Canadians and Indians alike.”

Over the past six years, Canada has concluded new free trade agreements with nine countries: Colombia, Jordan, Panama, Peru, the European Free Trade Association member states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, and most recently with Honduras. Canada is also negotiating with other trading partners, including the European Union, and is intensifying its focus on high-growth countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

TAGS: tax | business | free trade agreement (FTA) | Iceland | India | tariffs | Colombia | Liechtenstein | Norway | agreements | Canada | Jordan | Peru | Switzerland | trade | Honduras | Panama | services

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