Goyal terms re-launching of FTA talks as ‘defining moment for India-Canada ties’


New Delhi, March 11 : Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday described the visit of Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng and the relaunching of FTA negotiations as “a defining moment for the India-Canada relationship”. Addressing a dinner reception in honour of the Canadian minister, he said the early harvest FTA deal that both sides have agreed to work on would cover areas where they both have shared interests in terms of low hanging fruit. “I have no doubt that the new normal where India engages with developed countries with a sense of confidence from a position of fairness for an equitable and more balanced trade agreement will also be reflected in our engagement with Canada as we go forward,” he said. Goyal said that over 700,000 persons of Indian origin reside in Canada, with the figure set to rise to 1.4 mn in the next few years. The Indian diaspora in Canada also has the second highest income level in the country. He quoted Canadian musician Bryan Adams’ Summer of 69′ and said Ng’s visit couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. “We are getting out of Covid, getting into a new normal; the world is seeing so much of churn, and I think it is the right time to take our friendship and our relationship into the next orbit,” “Now is the time for Canada and India to create history, and I do hope that summer of 22 will help us create that history,” he remarked. Goyal said that there are 30,000 Indians in Minister Ng’s constituency. “And I believe this partnership will also be special to your people in Canada and I do hope that you will bear that in mind when you are negotiating with us, and be a little more liberal and be willing to give up a little more..” He also said he had held productive discussions with the Canadian Minister and both sides had also resolved a long pending issue around pulses, “which has been somewhat a matter of strain between the two countries”. Goyal said he had received assurances from Mary Ng on market access to Canada for some of India’s agricultural products and requested her for restarting the certification process for organic food stuffs. He invited Canadian companies to take advantage of several initiatives that the Indian govt has come up with, in manufacture, the promotion of industrial growth etc. The Canadian minister said she had met Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and raised the Fair Employment Practices Agency (FEPA) law. “By having an arrangement like FEPA will strengthen and create confidence among Canadian investors,” she said. She also offered that both sides can work together in the area of renewables, clean tech or the circular economy. “The relationship has only one way to go, that is up, and to win.” RN

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