Canada to revive FTA talks with India

Canadian trade minister Mary Ng is visiting India to hold talks with commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, which will set the stage for the resumption of the negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA). Both the ministers will hold the 5th India–Canada Ministerial Dialogue on Trade & Investment.

Various bilateral trade and investment issues will be discussed to bolster bilateral ties and economic partnership, including the FTA, formally called India-Canada Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Close on the heels of its free trade agreement (FTA) with the UAE, India has expedited the pace of talks with several partners — including members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Australia, the UK and Canada — to firm up a raft of “fair and balanced” trade deals and enable domestic exporters to take advantage of a rebound in global growth. The second round of negotiations with the UK for an FTA is currently going on.

The negotiations are a part of India’s broader strategy to sign “balanced” trade agreements with key economies and revamp existing pacts to boost trade. The move gained traction after New Delhi pulled out of the Beijing-dominated RCEP talks in November 2019.

FTAs are also central to India’s efforts to raise its merchandise exports to as much as $1 trillion by FY27, against just $292 billion in FY21 when the pandemic hit global supply chains. However, the country is on course to beat a record export target of $400 billion this fiscal, as global demand for merchandise improved dramatically. India’s merchandise exports to Canada rose by 25% until January this fiscal from a year before to $3 billion, while Canada’s rose 10% to $2.6 billion. Major Indian exports to Canada include drugs and pharmaceuticals, iron & steel, marine products, cotton fabrics & readymade garments (RMG) and chemicals etc, while key Canadian exports to India comprise pulses, fertilizers, coal and crude petroleum, etc.

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