Canadian Trade Minister In India On His Second Annual Trade Dialogue

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Canada’s International Trade Minister Ed Fast and India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma set timetable for next round of Canada-India free trade negotiations

NEW DELHI – Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, met with Anand Sharma, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, in Delhi this week. The two ministers discussed a wide range of trade-related issues and, in particular, agreed on the timing for the next round of negotiations on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA).

Annual dialogues between Canada and India were established by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June 2010 to underscore the commitment of both countries to tripling bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2015, which will create new opportunities for workers and businesses in both countries.

“A closer economic relationship between Canada and India will bring jobs and prosperity to citizens of both countries,” Fast said. “Minister Sharma and I had a constructive dialogue today on a number of issues, including the CEPA and our foreign investment promotion and protection agreement. These agreements represent our shared commitment to strengthening the ties between our two countries in order to take the Canada-India partnership to the next level.”

During their dialogue, the ministers agreed to the dates for a third round of talks. These will take place in Delhi on December 13, 14 and 15, 2011. An ambitious timetable was set for further negotiations that will aim for conclusions in 2013.

A Canada-India joint study report, issued in September 2010, concluded that free trade could help boost the economies of both countries by at least $6 billion each. The conclusion of a CEPA is a priority for both countries.

Fast is, who is on a trade mission to India from November 3 to 9, will travel to Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune and Mumbai to help strengthen trade and investment ties between Canada and India.