To further strengthen the bilateral ties, India and Canada held the fifth Ministerial Dialogue on Trade & Investment (MDTI) on March 11, co-chaired by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food, and Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal and Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion, and International Trade of Canada.
The Ministers agreed to formally relaunch negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and Canada, as well as consider an interim agreement or Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) that could bring commercial benefits for both countries.
Both Ministers highlighted the existing trade complementarities between India and Canada and emphasised that the trade agreement would help in expanding bilateral trade in goods and services through unlocking the potential across sectors. High-level commitments in goods, services, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, and dispute settlement would be included in the Interim Agreement, as well as other areas mutually agreed upon.
During the meeting, various other bilateral trade and investment issues were discussed. Both countries have agreed to step up their efforts to have Canada’s systems approach to pest risk management in pulses recognized, as well as market access for Indian agriculture products like sweet corn, baby corn, and bananas. Canada also agreed to expedite the review of APEDA’s request for CVB status in order to facilitate the export of Indian organic products.
The Ministers acknowledged the significance of establishing resilient supply chains in critical sectors and discussed ways to collaborate in this area. They further emphasized on enhancing cooperation in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and critical and rare earth minerals as well as in areas like tourism, urban infrastructure, renewable energy, and mining.
Both sides also agreed to work closely to provide sustained momentum to building linkages and strengthen cooperation across sectors to harness the full potential of the trade and investment relationship between India and Canada.
Canada and India have long-standing bilateral relations based upon shared values of democracy, pluralism, and deep interpersonal ties. Canada is home to one of the largest communities of Indian origin, with around 4% of Canadians being of Indian heritage (1.4 million people).
The deep cultural and political ties between both nations are strengthened by a growing network of official dialogues, agreements, memoranda of understanding, and working groups. At the Ministerial level, Canada and India enjoy a strategic partnership underpinned by Ministerial Dialogues on:
- Foreign policy
- Trade and investment
At the officials level there have been regular working groups that focus on:
- Science and technology
In 2021, there has been a strong recovery in bilateral trade after the fallout as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with bilateral trade in goods reaching US$ 6.29 billion registering a growth rate of 12% as compared to the previous year. Total bilateral trade including goods and services crossed US$ 11 billion. During the current financial year during April 2021-January 2022, Indian exports to Canada have increased to US$ 3 billion approx. registering a growth of almost 25% over the previous year.
India’s major exports to Canada include drugs and pharmaceutical products, iron & steel products, marine products, cotton fabrics & readymade garments (RMG) and chemicals, etc, while key Canadian exports to India comprise pulses, fertilisers, coal, and crude petroleum, etc.