India, Canada look for ways for early closure of trade deals

India and Canada are expected to deliberate on ways for early conclusion of the proposed free trade agreement and foreign investment promotion and protection pact.

PTI| Updated: Sep 29, 2016, 12:28 PM IST

New Delhi: India and Canada are expected to deliberate on ways for early conclusion of the proposed free trade agreement and foreign investment promotion and protection pact.

The issue, among others, will figure during the meeting between the trade ministers of both the countries in Toronto.

A high-level delegation led by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is there to attend the third Annual Ministerial Dialogue.

Considering the potential of bilateral trade, the trade ministers are likely to discuss "ways of expeditious and early conclusion of Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)", the commerce ministry said in a statement.

CEPA is a comprehensive free trade agreement under which two trade partners significantly reduce or eliminate Customs duties, besides liberalising trade in services and investment norms.

The negotiations for the agreement were launched by both in November 2010 to further boost bilateral trade and investment. The two-way trade stood at USD 6.25 billion in 2015-16, an increase from USD 5.95 billion in 2014-15.

Both ministers may also explore options for Indian interest in addressing the Temporary Foreign Workers Programmes of Canada, which is affecting the Indian IT industry.

The other issues that are likely to figure in the discussion are equivalence by Canadian Food Inspection Agency for Indian organic product exports and exploring investment opportunities in different sectors of India, it added.

The ministers are also expected to discuss issues relating to intellectual property, among others.

Sitharaman is scheduled to meet some top business leaders of Canada tomorrow to talk about various reforms undertaken in India and prospects for investment in various sectors.

The statement said India and Canada have enormous scope for enhanced bilateral trade relation, but it has "not been up to the potential".

During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Canada in April 2015, both nations recognised the need for early finalisation of FIPA and and expeditious, progressive, balanced, and mutually beneficial CEPA, as a basis for expanding trade and investment.