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BUSINESS LEADERS WELCOME NEW ERA OF COOPERATION BETWEEN CANADA AND INDIAFriday, January 23, 2009 > 10:26:22
“The time has come for a much stronger bilateral partnership between our two countries,” said CCCE Chief Executive and President Thomas d’Aquino. “Canada and India share a common language and a commitment to democratic principles. Both of our countries have benefited enormously from the globalization of trade and investment. Building on that success, we look forward to a new era of deeper cooperation and enhanced prosperity.”
The CCCE is Canada’s premier business association, composed of 150 chief executives and leading entrepreneurs from all major sectors and regions of the country. Beginning in 2005, the CCCE and its Indian counterpart, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), have worked closely to create the foundation for stronger economic ties. Their efforts culminated in September 2008 with the publication of a joint report recommending the negotiation of a “single, modern, high-quality and comprehensive” economic partnership agreement.
In New Delhi earlier this week, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Stockwell Day, and India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Kamal Nath, agreed to begin discussions toward such an agreement.
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper is to be commended for his government’s focused and ambitious trade strategy, and in particular for moving forward to seize the opportunities offered by closer commercial ties with India,” Mr. d’Aquino said. “As Minister Day has noted, India is a dynamic, rapidly growing market that represents a huge opportunity for Canadian goods, services and technology.” Mr. d’Aquino added that strong leadership from Ministers Day and Nath will be essential to the successful conclusion of economic partnership negotiations. “I will continue to work with my colleague Tarun Das to advance our mutual interests both bilaterally, regionally and multilaterally.”
Possible elements of a Canada-India economic partnership agreement include:
- the elimination of substantially all tariffs in non-agriculture products within 10 years;
- due recognition of bilateral sensitivities;
- reciprocal commitments to negotiate simplified rules of origin; a binding dispute-settlement mechanism; a mechanism to eliminate non-tariff barriers and otherwise address technical barriers to trade; greater transparency in customs rules and procedures; and clear, concise and legally enforceable rights and obligations in agreed upon regulatory areas;
- opening of financial and other services markets;
- launching a dialogue with business on public procurement;
- measures to ensure the mobility of skilled personnel and service providers, as well as resolution of travel facilitation challenges such as business visa approvals;
- stronger intellectual property protection;
- the possible incorporation of the Canada-India Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement into the investment chapter of a future broad-based economic partnership agreement;
- closer bilateral cooperation in science and technology, education, energy and the environment, as well as in various sectors as determined in consultation with the private sectors;
- greater cooperation in the field of competition policy and in intellectual property rights protection and enforcement;
- possible renegotiation of the 1996 India-Canada double taxation agreement.
Founded in 1976, the CCCE is Canada’s private sector leader in the promotion of international trade and investment liberalization. The Council was instrumental in the development and promotion of both the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement and the subsequent North American Free Trade Agreement. More recently, the CCCE has advocated for multilateral trade liberalization as well as for bilateral and regional economic agreements with Canada’s major and emerging trading partners.
CCCE members lead companies that collectively administer $3.5 trillion in assets, have annual revenues of more than $800 billion, and are responsible for the vast majority of Canada’s exports, investment, research and development, and training. In addition to Mr. d’Aquino, the members of the CCCE’s Executive Committee are: Chair, Gordon M. Nixon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Royal Bank of Canada; Honorary Chair Richard L. George, President and Chief Executive Officer of Suncor Energy Inc.; and Vice Chairs Dominic D’Alessandro, Paul Desmarais, Jr., Jacques Lamarre, Hartley T. Richardson and Annette Verschuren, the chief executives respectively of Manulife Financial, Power Corporation of Canada, SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., James Richardson & Sons, Limited and The Home Depot Canada and Asia.