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Canada Pushes Free Trade With India

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

16 September 2010

Speaking to members of the Canadian and Indian business community, the Canadian Minister for International Trade, Peter Van Loan spoke of the promise of increased bilateral trade with India, including the signing of a crucial economic partnership agreement, talks for which will begin, he announced, in the next few weeks.

“Canada’s trade and investment partnership with India is on an exciting path — one that holds great promise for both countries as we continue toward lasting economic recovery,” Van Loan told business leaders. “Our government has made India a key priority in Canada’s foreign and trade policy agenda.”

The recent visit to Canada by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and last year’s visit to India by his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper have underlined both countries’ dedication to their bilateral relationship, Van Loan said, noting in particular that the two leaders have committed to expanding the Canada-India relationship to increase bilateral trade to CAD15bn (USD14.55bn) annually in the next five years.

Van Loan said that he looks forward to welcoming India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, to Canada in the next few weeks. This is to be the first meeting between the two ministers since the prime ministers announced their commitment to an annual dialogue on trade and investment. Van Loan also said that he welcomes the findings of the joint study group on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement between India and Canada.

“The government of Canada is creating an environment that allows Canadian companies to succeed in global markets and put this recession behind us,” Van Loan continued. “Canada is recognized as a leader in free trade. Our government is committed to opening global markets for Canadian companies through an aggressive free trade agenda that includes promoting investment and fighting protectionism.”

In addition to discussions on an economic partnership with India, Canada is also negotiating a trade agreement with the European Union. In less than four years, the government of Canada has concluded new free trade agreements with Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama and the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

TAGS: business | free trade agreement (FTA) | India | export duty | tariffs | agreements | Canada | import duty | trade

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