Canada urged to ease business visas from India, China

January 13th, 2009 - 11:50 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Jan 13 (IANS) Canada should reduce wait times for business visas from countries like India, China and Russia to boost trade with emerging economies, said a business report here Monday.In fact, imposition of visa requirements for foreign business people and delays in issuing them are hurting Canadian business prospects very badly, said the report by the independent think-tank Conference Board of Canada.

Called `Barriers at the Border: The Costs of Impediments to Business Mobility,’ the report said temporary resident visa (TRV) requirements for business people are non-tariff barriers that discourage the trade of Canadian goods and services.

If the government cannot eliminate these visas, the report said, it should at least reduce delays and other costs associated with acquiring them to minimize the negative effects.

“Impediments to the mobility of business people can limit economic growth by dampening trade, investment and visitors,” said Michael Burt, who is associate director for the board’s Industrial Outlook Service.

“Canadian policy makers should reduce wait times for visas, increase the use of multi-entry visas, and expand outsourcing of visa processing.

“Efforts should be focused on large, emerging economies where Canada has visa requirements, such as China, Russia, India, and Turkey,” he said.

The report said visa temporary visa requirements reduce the stocks of inward foreign direct investment (FDI) by $8.9 billion and outward FDI by $4.7 billion yearly.

Imports and exports of services were lowered annually by $926 million and $330 million respectively, the report said.

The report said Canada should reallocate its missions from Zimbabwe, Guyana and Cambodia (with little business potential) to Slovakia and Slovenia in Eastern Europe, Iraq and Qatar in the Middle East and the Bahamas and Bermuda in the Caribbean as these countries offer big business opportunities.

Currently, Canada has missions in 56 countries, with New Delhi being the second largest.

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