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Progress Made In Canada, India FTA Talks

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

16 December 2011

A third round of talks towards a free trade agreement (FTA) between Canada and India have taken place, with a view to tripling bilateral trade within the next four years.

Four days of negotiations began in Delhi on December 13. Talks commenced in November last year, during the G20 Summit in Seoul, when the Canadian government stressed the importance of cooperation and creativity in reaching a broad and ambitious free trade agreement. Both sides aim at increasing bilateral trade to CAD15bn (USD14.5bn) annually by 2015.

Issuing an update on the talks, Canada's Minister of International Trade Ed Fast and the Minister of State (Sport), Bal Gosal, highlighted the progress being made.

Speaking from Geneva, where he is taking part in a World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference, Fast said: “As agreed with my counterpart, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, during my trade mission to India, our two countries are committed to an ambitious schedule for negotiations. Discussions are advancing and Canada is aiming to conclude negotiations in 2013, and unlocking the benefits of free trade for Canadian businesses, workers and families.”

“A Canada-India trade agreement has the potential to boost Canada’s economy and create jobs and economic prosperity for hard-working Canadians. Our government is committed to building on our already strong ties with India to create a partnership that will lead to new opportunities and stronger economies in both countries,” Gosal added.

According to a Canada-India Joint Study Report, published in October, 2010, free trade could boost Canada’s economy by at least CAD6bn. It also concluded that a deal could increase bilateral trade with India by 50% and directly benefit Canadian businesses and workers in sectors ranging from primary agriculture, resource-related and chemical products to transport equipment, machinery and equipment, and services.

Over the last five years, Canada has concluded new trade agreements with nine countries and is holding ongoing negotiations with around 50 others. This includes the current free trade negotiations with the European Union, which the government says represent Canada’s most significant trade initiative since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

TAGS: business | free trade agreement (FTA) | India | agreements | manufacturing | Canada | trade | services

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