Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Textiles, Government of India, along with Hon’ble Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business, and Economic Development, Government of Canada, co-chaired the sixth India-Canada Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment (MDTI) on May 8, 2023, in Ottawa. The ministers emphasised the solid foundation of the trade and economic relationship between Canada and India and recognised the significant opportunity to deepen bilateral ties and economic partnerships.
Minister Mary Ng expressed her support for India as G20 Chair and the priorities pursued by India in the G20 Trade and Investment Working Group. She indicated that she is looking forward to participating in the upcoming G-20 Trade and Investment Ministerial meeting in India, scheduled to take place in August 2023.
The ministers emphasised enhancing cooperation in sectors such as clean technologies for infrastructure development, critical minerals, electric vehicles and batteries, renewable energy and hydrogen, and AI. The ministers asked their officials to discuss trade remedy issues of bilateral importance on a regular basis.
The Ministers reviewed the progress so far achieved in the India-Canada Free Trade Agreement negotiations in the seven rounds of negotiations so far. The Ministers reaffirmed that 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, and may also cover others where mutual agreement is reached.
The two sides agreed to explore enhanced cooperation through measures such as coordinated investment promotion, information exchange, and mutual support between the two parties soon through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), preferably in the fall of 2023.
The Ministers agreed on the importance of G2G coordination to promote critical mineral supply chain resiliency and committed to an annual dialogue at the official level on the margins of the Prospectors and Developers Association Conference (PDAC) in Toronto to discuss issues of mutual interest.
Both ministers agreed to rework and relaunch the Canada-India CEO Forum with renewed focus and a new set of priorities. The CEO Forum could be announced at a mutually agreed-upon early date. The CEO Forum would be a platform to enhance B2B engagement.
Minister Mary Ng announced that she would lead a Team Canada trade mission to India in October 2023. This will present an opportunity to further the trade and investment ties between the two countries, as she is likely to bring a large business delegation for the same.
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. In this context, they noted the desire for enhanced discussions in migration and mobility.
The ministers discussed appropriate mechanisms to discuss talent and innovation partnerships to strengthen the bilateral innovation ecosystem.
To review the progress being made under the mechanisms established under the MDTI and ensure regular follow-up, both sides will come up with an annual work plan that will be reviewed and reported on a regular basis.
The ministers agreed to remain engaged to provide sustained momentum for building linkages and strengthening cooperation across sectors to harness the full potential of the trade and investment relationship between India and Canada.