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India, Canada Soon to Formulate Comprehensive Trade Pacts

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NEW DELHI:  Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Canadian Minister of International Trade François-Philippe Champagne have directed the respective Chief Negotiators on both sides to agree on a time line and conclude it as per the agreed time line. Currently, the trade between both the nations stood at eight billion dollars and it is being believed that it could go up further.

The two Ministers carried forward the discussion from the bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at Davos in January, 2017. The discussion focussed on expanding bilateral trade and investment between the Countries, the Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement. Both the Ministers also agreed to expedite the conclusion of Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA), which will ensure safety for overseas investment of the domestic companies.

The Canadian Minister also pointed out the interest shown by Canadian Pension Funds in the Indian market and emphasised on the need for FIPA, which will provide the required predictability and protection to investments. Addressing the issues of Most Favoured Nation (MFN), ratchet, and ISDS raised by the Canadian side, the Commerce Minister clarified that the negotiation should not get lost in peripheral issues and should focus on bringing in promotion and protection elements, which provide stability and predictability to investments in each other’s country.

She added that India has approved the model text as a template and the negotiation under FIPA should go forward in accordance with the model text. However, both sides should remain flexible to incorporate the essential elements of investment protection, while negotiating the Agreement.

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