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Seventh round of India-Canada FTA talks likely in Feb

Last Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013 - 18:09

New Delhi: In a bid to fast track talks for the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA), India and Canada are likely to hold the seventh round of negotiations in February in New Delhi, a Canadian envoy said Monday.

"Canada wants an ambitious Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India. The seventh round of (FTA) negotiations is happening in February in New Delhi," Canadian High Commissioner in India Stewart Beck said here.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function jointly organised by industry chamber CII and Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce.

"I think there is will at both the sides to conclude the proposed pact partly because we think it is an important thing to do and also the Prime Ministers (of India and Canada) have committed to do it by end of 2013," Beck said.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper, in November 2012, reaffirmed their desire to conclude the proposed pact by the end of 2013.

Besides, both the leaders reiterated their shared desire to see bilateral trade reach USD 15 billion by 2015.

At present, the two-way trade is over USD 5 billion.

The negotiations for pact, which is officially dubbed as Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), was launched by both the countries in November 2010 to further boost bilateral trade and investment.

Beck said: "We want one (pact) that is going to give the maximum movement of people from Indian perspective. We want the one which gives the best rates possible for Canadian goods coming into this market."

The FTA is aimed at slashing or eliminating duties on maximum number of products traded between the two countries, besides opening the services sector and facilitating investment proposals.

As per a joint study group report, both countries will benefit from the CEPA. According to the report, India and Canada's GDP are likely to get benefits in the range of USD 6 billion and USD 15 billion per year, respectively from the trade pact.

Canada primarily exports vegetables, fertilisers, machinery and wood pulp, while its main imports from India are organic chemicals, knit and woven apparel, precious stones and metals, electronics and machinery.

Speaking on the occasion, Mayor of Brampton Susan Fennell said, "We are known for SMEs. We are here to attract two-way investments between India and Brampton."

Brampton is located at Northwest corner of Toronto.

Expressing the hope that Foreign Investment Protection Agreement will be finalised soon, Beck said: "We are hoping that we conclude this Foreign Investment Protection Agreement not just because Canadian companies want it but it is also in the interest of Indian companies that have huge investments in Canada."

"Thus, it is also in India's interest to have this pact," he added.

Till now, Indian companies like Tata Steel and Essar Steel have invested over USD 12 billion in Canada, while Canadian firms including Bombardier and McCain Foods have invested more than USD 2 billion in India.

On operationalisation of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, Beck said, "We can sell uranium into this market. It is also more important from economic and employment growth perspective..."

In November last year, India and Canada concluded negotiations for effective operationalisation of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement, paving the way for Canadian firms to soon be able to export uranium and nuclear reactors.

On India's plan to invest about USD 1 trillion for the development of its infrastructure sector during the 12th Plan (2012-17), Beck said, Canada could also bring capital in India as it has expertise in this sector.


First Published: Monday, January 14, 2013 - 18:09
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