India, Canada trade ministers to review progress in talks on free trade agreement


Trade ministers of India and Canada will review the progress in talks on the proposed free trade agreement between the two countries besides discussing ways to strengthen economic ties, an official statement said on Monday.

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, Government of Canada, will co-chair the discussions for the sixth India-Canada Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment (MDTI) on Monday in Ottawa.

MDTI is a bilateral mechanism which provides institutional mechanisms to discuss a broad spectrum of trade and investment related issues and cooperation areas.

The discussions will focus on various themes including strengthening the bilateral trade relationship, investment promotion, green transition – including critical minerals, it said. “The ministers will also review India-Canada CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) negotiations,” it added. At the last MDTI meeting in March 2022, both ministers launched the CEPA negotiations with a possibility to have an interim agreement or EPTA (Early Progress Trade Agreement).Since then, seven rounds of negotiations have been held. In such agreements, two countries significantly reduce or eliminate custom duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them. They also liberalise norms for promoting trade in services and attract investments.

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Further, Goyal will also be visiting Toronto from May 9 – 10, where he will have various engagements to promote trade and investment.“These engagements will include meetings with CEOs of key Canadian companies, Round Table of Indian and Canadian CEOs, interaction with Canadian and Indian companies based in Canada and Financial Sector Round table,” the commerce and industry ministry said.

The minister is accompanied by a delegation of Indian CEOs. He would also inaugurate the Indian Pavilion at SIAL CANADA-2023, which is the largest food innovation trade show in North America with participation of more than 1,000 national and international exhibitors from 50 countries.

Indian companies that have presence in Canada include Tata, Aditya Birla, Reliance, Wipro, Infosys, and TCS. Similarly Canadian firms such as Bombardier, SNC Lavalin, and CAE have a presence in India. India attracted USD 3.2 billion foreign direct investment during April 2000 and December 2022.

India’s exports to Canada stood at USD 3.8 billion during April-February 2022-23 as against USD 3.76 billion in 2021-022. Imports from Canada stood at USD 3.77 billion during the 11-month period lat year as against USD 3.2 billion in 2021-22.

Major items of Indian exports include medicines, garments, diamonds, chemicals, gems and jewellery, petroleum oils, made-up, sea food, engineering goods, marble and granite, rice, electric equipment, and plastic products. Imports included pulses, fertilizers, newsprint, aircraft and aviation equipment, diamonds, copper ores and concentrates, bituminous coal, wood pulp, nickel, unwrought aluminum, asbestos, and cameras.


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