Canada beckons Indian exporters to its Atlantic gateway

February 18th, 2008 - 5:06 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Positioning its east coast as the quickest gateway to North American markets, Canada Monday forcefully urged Indian exporters to utilise this Atlantic gateway to further their business interests. “Ports on Canada’s east coast are 36 hours closer from the Suez Canal than New York. What this means is that goods that are offloaded at an Atlantic Gateway port will have reached the US Midwest before your competitor’s ship would have docked at New York,” Peter MacKay, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), said here.

He is in India at the head of a large business delegation to conduct seminars and workshops here and in Mumbai to promote the Atlantic Gateway concept.

Mackay, who is also Canada’s defence minister, will meet his Indian counterpart A.K. Antony and National Security Advisor (NSA) M.K. Narayanan.

Ministers from all four of Canada’s Atlantic provinces are part of MacKay’s delegation.

They include Denis Landry, minister of transportation for New Brunswick; Ron W. MacKinley, minister of transportation and public works for Prince Edward Island; Angus MacIsaac, deputy premier, minister of economic development, and minister responsible for the Atlantic Gateway in Nova Scotia; and Paul Oram, minister of business for Newfoundland and Labrador.

“The Atlantic Gateway concept is in keeping with our national plan which includes the east coast and also our central provinces which are home to a large manufacturing sector and the market of course into the US,” MacKay told IANS on the sidelines of a seminar here.

“The US is our biggest trading partner but we look to diversify our economy and we see India as one of the most exciting and fastest growing markets in the world. We want to be part of that momentum. We want to be here and have a real presence in India.”

“There is a great connection and synergy between India and Canada today. We have a large Indian-Canadian population and we think these are natural connections we can capitalise on.

“That’s the reason for being here. It’s been overdue in my opinion. We’re delighted to be here with a large contingent of Canadian business representatives as well as political representatives.”

Questioned on the issue of port security, the minister said: “We’ve been seized with this issue for a number of years and we have increased our security on our container ports in places like Halifax where we have a much stronger system of examination of containers for example.”

Pointing out that Canada had a “very capable” coast guard and naval system, MacKay said: “We are conscious of the fact that there are many who would bring harm into North America. So, we’re looking at examination at the departure point as opposed to emphasis at the delivery point.

“You’ll find most ports in the world are approaching it this way.”

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