India and Canada resume trade pact talks

Canada wants to export cherries and lumber; Investment protection agreement in sight

Canada wants to export cherries and lumber; Investment protection agreement in sight

India and Canada have decided to resume talks on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and will seek to seal an investment protection agreement as well, the countries’ trade ministers said after a bilateral ministerial dialogue on Friday.

CEPA talks with Canada had derailed amid the COVID-19 pandemic but were set to resume after Canada’s elections concluded in September 2021. Bilateral trade in goods between the two nations totaled $6.3 billion in 2021, and the two sides agreed on a comprehensive trade deal that would help boost trade and investment flows.

CEPA negotiations will formally restart and the two countries will consider an interim agreement or an Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA), which could be concluded ahead of schedule as a transitional step. India is seeking market access for its sweetcorn, baby corn and bananas in Canada, while Ottawa is keen to export its cherries and lumber to India.

EPTA is intended to “cover high-level commitments related to goods, services, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade and dispute settlement, and may also cover any other mutually agreed areas,” the joint statement said.

“Furthermore, Canada and India have agreed to encourage and protect bilateral investment, including by intensifying negotiations for a bilateral investment agreement, while exploring options to achieve this goal alongside CEPA,” it added.

Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister for International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, and Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Trade and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, co-chaired the bilateral trade and investment dialogue in the capital on Friday .

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