India, Canada yet to decide on n-deal signing date (Lead)

June 9th, 2009 - 3:59 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, June 9 (IANS) Canada and India have said they are on track to ink a nuclear deal soon, but have not committed themselves to any date..

Though the two countries have exchanged the drafts, no date for signing the deal could be specified, Canadian International Trade Minister Stockwell Day said here at the weekend gala of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC).

“We don’t know when the nuclear deal will be signed because right now we are in the negotiation stage… these things take time,” said Indian High Commissioner S.M. Gavai, adding that the two countries plan to triple their trade in the next five years.

“We have exchanged the nuclear drafts and we are negotiating. There are lots of issues - technical and political - involved in this. Once things are sorted out, then we will sign the agreement,” Gavai said.

Day said the nuclear agreement will contribute to boosting trade between the two countries.

“The nuclear deal will help as India is looking for the construction of 25 to 35 reactors,” Day told IANS.

“India has already benefited from our CANDU reactors. So we have the experience and we have the type of product that India needs… and we want to be part of that,” said the Canadian minister who visited India in January.

“There is hardly any field (in India) that is not open for opportunity (for Canada) - transportation, infrastructure, biotech, medical joint ventures, pharmacy….”

Asked why the Canada-India annual trade was still hovering in the region of $4 billion, the minister said: “We saw 22 percent increase in the trade in 2008 over the previous year. There is a potential to do a lot more. That is our goal - to continue to open doors of opportunity.”

Referring to the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership between the two countries, Day said: “India has some queries or sensitivities which they still want to protect - I totally respect that.”

For his part, the Indian high commissioner said the trade between the two countries is growing steadily.

“But $4 billion is still not a high figure. We want to triple the trade in the next five years. That’s possible,” Gavai said.

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