To explore the potential of joint cooperation, alliances and trade the Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce led a high level delegation from Canada to India by Mr. Naval Bajaj, President, Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC). The interactive meeting held on 14 January, 2014, was organised jointly by the All India Association of Industries and the World Trade Centre Mumbai. The meeting was presided by Mr. Richard Bale, Consul General, Consulate General of Canada, Mumbai. The meeting covered agriculture, education and energy sectors and was well attended by eminent people from the industry.

The outstanding bilateral trade relationship that India and Canada share since 1947, has scaled to great heights said Mr. Kalantri. He emphasized that there was more to be achieved in terms of scope for further promoting trade between the two countries. Currently, the bilateral trade stands at US$ 5.2 billion which has to scale upto US$15 billion by 2015, announced by both Prime Ministers of India and Canada.  However due to the current slowdown in the Indian economy chances were this figure could only be reached by 2016. Some of the focus sectors where there is scope for joint collaboration are in the areas of agriculture, education and energy. Mr. Kalantri also said that the Indian diaspora in Canada was gradually increasing, giving rise to representations in the local, political and in the consulates across India as well. Canada’s presence in India too is also on the rise and that the Indian economy was poised for growth especially in agri-products, tea and textiles, pharmaceuticals and chemicals, if collaborations came forth.

Mr. Kalantri quoted that the Honourable Mr. Veerappa Moily, Indian Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas said that India must enhance trade with Canada especially in the Oil & Gas sector and that there remained much to be done in this area. Canada is a well established source of this energy which India must tap into and that there are opportunities for joint collaboration.

Increase in investment on both fronts can only be achieved through trade delegation visits opined Mr. Kalantri. The interactions should increase between countries while also travelling around countries would surely help in stepping up the investment process.

Mr. Richard Bale, in his remarks while welcoming ICCC delegates spoke about the remarkable work done in helping Canadian businesses make their way into India. He also thanked the World Trade Center Mumbai and the All India Association of Industries for their individual contributions in Indo-Canadian bilateral trade. Mr. Bale said businesses happen when people meet each other and interact and network. So networking was the key to foster trade. Mr. Bale said the bilateral trade had tripled to US$ 5 billion, further slated to increase to US$ 15 billion. The huge gap needed to be bridged, which can be achieved through collaborations in sectors like Oil& Gas for India, while for Canada, this can be achieved mainly in the energy, food security, agri-foods, infrastructure, education sectors. Mr. Bale also mentioned that pulse import to India mainly came from the Province of Saskatchewan. On the education side, he said that India had a lot of educational institutions, but that was not enough and lot could be achieved through partnerships. Entrepreneurship would give a further impetus to bilateral trade, wherein  India’s huge strengths and Canada’s knowledge based economy especially in the areas of life sciences and technology could help bring about fruitful collaborations.

Mr. Naval Bajaj, President, Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce and the leader of the delegation spoke of the contribution made by million plus Indians in Canada. He urged Mr. Kalantri to organize a delegation to Canada. In his address, he mentioned that the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra were responsible for businesses to Canada.

Mr. Bajaj emphasized mainly on the Canada-India Corridor and the Free-Trade Agreement. He elicited concerns on the delay of the FTA which was to be completed in 2013 but now rescheduled for 2014. On the Canada-India File there are big opportunities for both countries in terms of branding, synergies, agri-foods, cold chain, energy, oil & gas and education. He said that each city on the itinerary pose different opportunities for the delegation to work in bringing successful collaboration. He congratulated AIAI as being a key partner in moving this file ahead.

Mr. Bajaj elucidated on the education sector mainly on the overview, the sector as it stands in Canada and India and the possibility of joint efforts. Education is a main contributor to the growth of the economy. Direct recruitment from India to Canada is an important factor to be considered. Indian students aspiring a Canadian degree was on the rise. Attracting International students is a priority. Canada has been gaining Can$8 billion from India through this sector, so there is a growing opportunity. An MoU was signed in 2010 to double efforts in this sector. He emphasized that Canada was the 6th most sought after education country in the world. He suggested twinning of education with business or trade. However, there are challenges in India which need to be overcome such as regulation reforms pertaining to entry level and operation, quality assurance etc. while foreign education systems have quality and are competitive. Mr. Kalantri added that he would follow-up on the FTA and education collaboration between India and Canada. He also suggested that the Indian government should only issue guidelines and remove all obstacles. In his view, it is only then that competitive intuitions would survive.

On the Indian education sector Dr. Gopal, Director, Padmashree Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth gave an elaborative and thought provoking presentation. He spoke on the possibilities of collaborative efforts in specific areas at the university levels, with educational consultants, training programs, research, faculty, students and executive development programs.

There were individual presentations made by Sohail Saeed, Director Economic Development, City of Brampton, Canada, Mr. Raymond Chan, Government of Saskatchewan, Canada and Mr. Mike Mehta, Indo Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The interactive meeting was followed by B2B meetings.
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L to R : Dr. R. Gopal, Director, Padmashree Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Dept of Business Management, Mr. Naval Bajaj, President, Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Vijay Kalantri, President, All India Association of Industries, Vice Chairman, World Trade Center Mumbai, Mr. Richard Bale, Consul General, Consulate General of Canada, Ms. Rupa Naik, Executive Director, All India Association of Industries, Director, Projects, MVIRDC World Trade Centre Mumbai.                                                                      

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