INDIA NEWS: India-Canada Early Progress Trade Agreement a Step in the Right Direction Says Surrey Board of Trade

On March 11, the Honourable Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, and Shri Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food, and Public Distribution and Textiles, co-chaired the fifth Ministerial Dialogue on Trade & Investment (MDTI) in New Delhi. They committed to bolstering trade, investment and further strengthening the bilateral relationship by formally re-launching the India-Canada Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) negotiations. Both sides agreed to consider an interim Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) that could be concluded early as a transitional step towards the CEPA.

“The Surrey Board of Trade is pleased with the positive outcomes from the Ministerial Dialogue on Trade & Investment as a pathway towards a free trade agreement between Canada and India,” said Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “This free trade agreement is important to decrease or remove costly and time consuming trade barriers to accelerate the movement and trading of goods and services between Canada and India. Surrey is an important market for immigration, trade, and foreign direct investment between Canada and India.”

Highlights from the meeting include:

–        Bilateral trade in goods reaching US$ 6.29 billion registering a growth rate of 12% as compared to the previous year.

–        Growth of two-way foreign direct investment and its contribution to deepening economic and trade ties.

–        The need to expand bilateral trade through unlocking the potential across priority and emerging sectors both in goods and services.

–        Commitment to strengthen trade and commercial ties through enhanced partnerships and cooperation in identified areas such as agro-products, chemicals, footwear, textiles, automobiles, energy, electronics, minerals and metals, urban development, information technology and tourism.

–        The need for a comprehensive trade agreement between the two countries that would help in bolstering trade, investment and further strengthen the bilateral relationship, the Ministers agreed to formally re-launch the India-Canada Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) negotiations.

–        Both sides agreed to consider an interim agreement or Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) that could be concluded early as a transitional step towards the CEPA.

–        EPTA shall 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.

–        Canada and India agreed to promote and protect bilateral investment, including through the intensification of negotiations toward a Bilateral Investment Agreement, while considering options to achieve this goal alongside CEPA.

–        India will consider to allow the import of pulses without penalty in case of fumigation on arrival by Methyl Bromide (MBr) until finalization of a systems approach for Canadian pulses.

–        Canada 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.

–        Pulses, sweet corn, baby corn, Canada, cherries and lumber market access was discussed

–        Cooperation in the public health sector was discussed such as the supply of pharmaceutical products.

–        Commitments to WTO practices were reaffirmed.

–        COVID-19 testing regulations eased by Canada for Indian travellers was welcomed.

“The discussions were fulsome and aligned with the advocacy efforts of the Surrey Board of Trade. As geopolitics and domestic policy for traditional trading partners shifts, we must be able to rely on other nations through mutually beneficial trade agreements. We look forward to examining the EPTA, and facilitating trade networks between local businesses and businesses in India.”

The Surrey Board of Trade has a robust International Trade Centre that promotes business opportunities around the world to build global business opportunities for local businesses. The Surrey Board of Trade has successfully formed a network with Consulate Offices, Chambers of Commerce and other international organizations to work together towards the goals of Surrey’s International Trade Centre.

More information on the 5th India-Canada MDTI here: ca/country_news-pays_ nouvelles/2022-03-11-india- inde.aspx?lang=eng

Read the Surrey Board of Trade policy on India-Canada trade here: wp-content/uploads/2022/03/ Canada-India-FTA.pdf

-30-Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342,