Yet another Canadian minister in India to deepen trade ties

February 14th, 2009 - 11:20 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Feb 14 (IANS) Canada’s Industry Minister Tony Clement will become the fourth cabinet minister to visit India within a month when he arrives in New Delhi Saturday on a five-day visit.
Though no major agreements are likely to be signed by Clement who will meet his Indian counterparts and business leaders, the visit is being seen here as part of the Canadian effort to deepen its business ties with India.

With the US economic crisis hitting Canada more than any American trading partner, the visit is also part of Canada’s new policy to diversify trade towards Europe and Asia to reduce dependence on its big neighbour.

Last year, Canada backed India at the Nuclear Suppliers Groups (NSG) to allow it access to nuclear technology and fuel.

It followed this up last month by resuming nuclear ties with India, which were frozen after New Delhi conducted its first nuclear test in 1974.

The Canadian nuclear industry is eyeing business worth billion of dollars through sale of uranium and nuclear technology to India.

Thanks to the signing of the landmark science and technology, and investment protection agreements during the past three years, the trade between India and Canada has increased sharply.

Currently pegged at about $4 billion, the two-way trade is expected double in the next four to five years. India and Canada are also working on a free trade agreement to deepen business relations.

The current Conservative government in Ottawa, which announced to make India as a priority nation for developing trade ties, has already opened two new trade offices in Hyderabad and Kolkota.

Another trade office in Ahmedabad is likely to be opened soon.

During Clement’s visit to India, the two sides will also discuss cooperation in mining exploration in which Canada is a world leader.

A mining delegation from India is expected in Canada soon as New Delhi formulates a new mining policy to speed up search for minerals and metals.

Canadian mining experts, who have been to India, say the country is sitting on a treasure trove of mineral wealth which has not been exploited due to lack of proper policies, resources and know-how.

Clement joins Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and International Trade Minister Stockwell Day to visit India in the new year.

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