The 6th India-Canada Ministerial Dialogue on Trade & Investment (MDTI) was held in Ottawa on May 8, 2023. The co-chairs of the dialogue were Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food, and Public Distribution and Textiles, Government of India and the Hon’ble Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, Government of Canada. The Ministers highlighted the robust foundation of the trade and economic relationship between India and Canada, and acknowledged the opportunities to strengthen bilateral ties and economic partnership.
The G-20 meetings held in India this year under the Indian Presidency were also discussed, and Minister Ng applauded India’s role as a global economy of the future. She expressed her support for India as G20 Chair and the priorities pursued by India in the G20 Trade and Investment Working Group. Minister Ng also noted the upcoming G-20 Trade and Investment Ministerial meeting in India scheduled for August 2023, which she looks forward to participating in.
The Ministers recognized India’s importance in the Indo-Pacific region and Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, highlighting the region’s importance for Canada’s prosperity, security, and ability to address environmental challenges.
In 2022, Canada-India bilateral trade in goods increased by 57% over the previous year to nearly C$12 billion, showing the resilience of bilateral trade amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine. The contribution of the services sector in furthering the bilateral relationship was also noted, with significant potential to increase bilateral services trade, which stood at C$8.9 billion in 2022. The Ministers also appreciated the significant growth of two-way investments and their contribution to deepening economic and trade ties, along with the improvements made by both countries to facilitate business growth and attract investment.
The Ministers called for boosting commercial ties between India and Canada by forging partnerships and enhancing cooperation in sectors such as agricultural goods, chemicals, green technologies, infrastructure, automotive, clean energy, electronics, and minerals and metals. They also requested their officials to discuss trade remedy issues of bilateral importance regularly.
The Ministers emphasized the importance of the MDTI in promoting bilateral trade and investment ties and strengthening economic cooperation between India and Canada. To create new opportunities for boosting trade and investment flows between the two countries, the India-Canada Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) negotiations were formally re-launched in 2022. Negotiations towards an Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) have also been underway as a transitional step towards the CEPA. The EPTA would cover high-level commitments in goods, services, investment, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, dispute settlement, and other areas where mutual agreement is reached.
The two sides also agreed to explore enhanced cooperation through measures such as coordinated investment promotion, information exchange, and mutual support, to be finalized by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) preferably in Fall 2023.
The Ministers acknowledged the continued threat of disruption to global supply chains from the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. They discussed the importance of working together to promote the international rules-based order and supply chain resiliency in critical sectors. Sectors such as clean technologies for infrastructure development, critical minerals, electric vehicles and batteries, renewable energy/hydrogen, and AI were emphasized for cooperation.
The Ministers agreed on the importance of government-to-government coordination to promote critical mineral supply chain resiliency, and to explore options for business-to-business engagement on critical minerals between the two countries. They have also committed to an annual dialogue between the appropriate points of contact at the officials’ level on the margins of the Prospectors and Developers Association Conference in Toronto