Canada and India need a common framework for agricultural trade: Thomas of Canada India Business Council

Canada is aiming for an early progress trade deal before FTA is finalized, council president says

Canada is aiming for an early progress trade deal before FTA is finalized, council president says

Canada and India should draft a common framework on agricultural issues for smooth trade in agricultural commodities, said Victor T. Thomas, president of the Canada India Business Council. In an exclusive interview, Mr. Thomas emphasized that Canada looks forward to consolidating an Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) ahead of the final conclusion of the Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

“On the agricultural side, our standards are very high. We are the sixth largest exporter of agricultural products. The problem was that there were disagreements on both sides. The agreed framework for agricultural trade was missing on both sides. Agriculture is one of our strongest pieces and a lot can be done in this sector. Canada’s role can be crucial in ensuring food security in India,” said Mr. Thomas, giving his perspective on solving the difficulties in the negotiations in the agricultural sector.

India and Canada resumed FTA negotiations earlier this week when Ottawa’s Trade Minister Mary Ng was received by Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal. Speaking at the event, Mr Goyal had highlighted issues related to agriculture that are expected to be addressed during negotiations over the coming months. Mr Thomas said Canada is interested in a range of items including jewellery, textiles and spices from India which are expected to be part of the trade deal.

Canada and India started FTA negotiations ten years ago, but talks stalled amid political shifts on both sides. Mr Thomas said Canada sensed opportunities were opening up for the trade deal as India accelerated similar deals with countries like Australia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, adding: “There were times when everything else than were ideal. Things are back on track. Both countries want it to work.”

Negotiations for the trade deal started by the two ministers are likely to cover phytosanitary measures, goods and services, rules of origin and other such issues that were also part of the recent trade deal with the United Arab Emirates.

Highlighting commonalities between Indian and Canadian democratic traditions, Mr Thomas said Canada should trade more with India compared to other major economies that do not follow democratic principles. “We know how important democracy is and we have to involve our democratic partners. We have common laws and complementary economic systems,” said Mr. Thomas, who also highlighted the key role Canadian uranium could play in shaping India’s aspirations for a zero-pollution energy sector.

“When you look at the targets that the Indian government has set in terms of CO2 reduction, uranium can play an important role in the next 20 to 25 years,” said Mr. Thomas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *