CANADA TO SUPPORT INDIA IN WTO NEGOTIATIONS INVESTMENT PROMOTION AND PROTECTION AGREEMENT LIKELY SOON CANADIAN TRADE MINISTER MEETS KAMAL NATH
Date : 22 Sep 2005
Location : New Delhi
Canada will support India in the ongoing negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), especially in the key areas of agriculture and services. This was indicated by the Canadian Minister of International Trade, Mr. James Peterson, during discussions with Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, here last evening. Mr. Peterson was responding to Shri Kamal Nath’s assertion at the meeting that market access in agriculture had to be contingent upon reduction of trade distorting domestic support by the developed countries and that artificiality of world prices resulting from such heavy subsidies hindered level playing field for farmers in developing countries like India. Mr. Peterson responded by saying that “we support you completely on the need for a level playing field in agriculture and also, on the need for special and differential treatment for developing countries”.
Mr. Peterson urged that the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between India and Canada be expedited as it had been pending for too long and could lead to huge increase in inflows of Canadian foreign direct investment (FDI) into India. He said it would also provide an effective mechanism for resolving outstanding investment related issues between the two countries. The agreement is currently under discussion between the two delegations.
Shri Kamal Nath raised the issue of export of Indian ayurvedic drugs to Canada in the light of the health warning issued recently by the Canadian authorities against the use of some ayurvedic medicinal products especially from India on alleged grounds of high metallic content and pointed out that there had never been any complaints against Indian ayurvedic products. It was agreed that the matter would be looked into by experts on both sides and they would report to the Ministers soon.
Among other trade issues, the Canadian side flagged the issue of import of Canadian pulses which is at present subject to system of annual permits and urged a stable policy framework which would help Canadian exporters.
Indo-Canadian bilateral trade amounted to US $ 1554.63 million (i.e. $ 1.5 billion) in 2004-05, of which India’s exports to Canada were valued at US $ 816.16 million and India’s imports from Canada were US $ 738.47 million. India, thus, had trade surplus of US $77.69 million in 2004-05 with Canada. As far as investment is concerned, FDI from Canada to India is miniscule. “Canadian investment to India is lowest among the G-8 countries”, Shri Kamal Nath said.