Goyal, Canadian Minister to review progress in trade, CEPA


New Delhi, May 8

Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Monday met with the Canadian Minister for International Trade and Export Promotion Mary Ng to take forward discussions on further strengthening bilateral ties at the 6th India-Canada Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment (MDTI). The Ministers will also review the India-Canada Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) negotiations. Goyal, who is in Ottawa, will co-chair the deliberations of the MDTI, a bilateral mechanism which provides institutional mechanism to discuss a broad spectrum of trade and investment related issues and cooperation areasthe Commerce Ministry said on Monday.

The Ministers launched the CEPA negotiations at the last MDTI meeting in March 2022, with a possibility to have an interim agreement or Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA). It is estimated that India-Canada Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Canada and India would boost bilateral trade by USD 4.4-6.5 billion. Since then, seven rounds of negotiations have been held, factoring in the existing trade complementarities between India and Canada which the trade agreement would help in synergising towards enhanced bilateral trade in goods and services. The Interim Agreement would include high level commitments in goods, services, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, and dispute settlement, and may also cover any other areas mutually agreed upon.

India’s export to Canada stood at USD 2.8 billion during April-November 2022. Major exported items from India to Canada include drug formulations and biologicals (USD 278 million); followed by products of iron and steel (USD 218 million); articles of iron and steel (USD 172 million) during April-November 2022. More than 600 Canadian companies and organizations have established a presence in India. Hundreds more are actively pursuing business opportunities there. The bilateral commercial relationships between the two countries stand at USD 100 billion, which includes USD 70 billion of Canadian portfolio investment into India. In 2020, Canadian direct investment in India amounted to USD 2 billion. Canadian portfolio investment in India is estimated to have grown more than 50 per cent over the past five years, reaching about USD 27 billion, as per industry sources.

Building on this favourable equation, both countries have agreed to undertake intensified work with respect to the recognition of Canada’s systems approach to pest risk management in pulses and market access for Indian agriculture goods such as sweet corn, baby corn and banana etc. Canada has also agreed to examine expeditiously the request for Conformity Verification Body (CVB) status to APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) for facilitating Indian organic export products.

The 6th round of the Dialogue will focus on various themes including strengthening the bilateral trade relationship between India and Canada, investment promotion and cooperation, green transition – including critical minerals discussion and new areas of cooperation. Goyal, who is accompanied by a delegation of Indian CEOs led by FICCI, will also be visiting Toronto from 9-10 May for various engagements to promote trade and investment including meetings with key Canadian companies, a roundtable of Indian and Canadian CEOs, interaction with Canadian and Indian companies based in Canada and a financial sector roundtable.

Goyal’s visit is expected to impart further momentum to bilateral trade and investment relations as well as business opportunities in retail, food service and food processing industries with the Indian Pavilion at SIAL CANADA-2023, the largest food innovation trade show in North America with participation of more than 1000 national and international exhibitors from 50 countries. There will also be a trade and investment promotion event for the agricultural and food processing sector with Indian companies and Canadian importers on the sidelines of SIAL-2023.