India and Canada have agreed to increase discussions on movement of skilled professionals and students as they are contributing immensely in strengthening the economic ties between the two countries.
A joint statement issued after the meeting between commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal and Canadian minister of international trade, export promotion, small business and economic development Mary Ng. Both the leaders emphasised on the importance of a comprehensive trade agreement.
In 2022, both the countries resumed negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). In pursuit of that goal, talks towards an Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA), as a transitional step towards the CEPA, have been underway and several rounds of discussions have already taken place.
The EPTA would cover, among others, high level commitments in goods, services, investment, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, and dispute settlement.
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Both the ministers meet as part of the India-Canada Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment. Goyal was in Canada for this meeting.
”The ministers noted the significant movement of professionals and skilled workers, students, and business travellers between the two countries, and its immense contribution to enhancing the bilateral economic partnership. And in this context, (they) noted the desire for enhanced discussions in the area of migration and mobility,” the statement said.
Both sides agreed to continue to discuss ways to deepen and strengthen the bilateral innovation ecosystem through an appropriate mechanism to be determined.
On increasing cooperation in the area of critical minerals, the ministers agreed on the importance of government-to-government coordination to promote critical mineral supply chain resiliency.
They also agreed to explore options for business-to-business engagement on critical minerals between the two countries, and have committed to an annual dialogue at the officials level on the margins of the Prospectors and Developers Association Conference in Toronto, it added.
There is a huge demand for critical minerals like lithium, titanium, vanadium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite in India as the country is targeting to boost the production of renewable energy by 2030.
Further, the two countries also discussed ways to increase cooperation in sectors such as agricultural goods, chemicals, green technologies, infrastructure, automotive, clean energy, electronics, and minerals and metals.
”The ministers further asked their officials to discuss trade remedy issues of bilateral importance on a regular basis,” the statement said.
The two sides also agreed to explore enhanced cooperation through measures such as coordinated investment promotion, information exchange and mutual support between the two parties in near future.
This cooperation between India and Canada will be finalised by way of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) preferably this year, it added.
”They emphasised enhancing cooperation in sectors such as clean technologies for infrastructure development, critical minerals, electric vehicles and batteries, renewable energy/hydrogen, and AI (artificial intelligence),” it said.
Both the ministers held discussions on relaunching the Canada-India CEO Forum and India also invited top Canadian universities to set up their campuses here.
India attracted USD 3.2 billion foreign direct investment during April 2000 and December 2022.
India’s exports to Canada stood at USD 3.8 billion during April-February 2022-23 as against USD 3.76 billion in 2021-22. Imports from Canada stood at USD 3.77 billion during the 11-month period last year as against USD 3.2 billion in 2021-22.
Major items of Indian exports include medicines, garments, diamonds, chemicals, gems and jewellery, petroleum oils, made-up, sea food, engineering goods, marble and granite, rice, electric equipment, and plastic products.
Imports included pulses, fertilizers, newsprint, aircraft and aviation equipment, diamonds, copper ores and concentrates, bituminous coal, wood pulp, nickel, unwrought aluminum, asbestos, and cameras.