Website of Canada India Foundation. An organization dedicated to Canada and India relations.

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Various publications and speeches given by CIF members, staff, or by various dignitaries at CIF events.

CIF speaks on CEPA and Canada India trade before House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade


Presentation to Standing Committee on International Trade

Clerk of the Committee

Paul Cardegna

Canada India Foundation

Rahul Shastri, National Convenor

Kalyan Sundaram, Executive Director

2939 Portland Drive

Oakville, ON., L6H 5S4


November 20, 2012

Honourable Chair and Members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade, We thank you for the opportunity to share our views on behalf of Canada India Foundation on the formal Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) currently under negotiation between the governments of Canada and India and also on the broader issue of greater trade with India and stronger relations. It had also been the privilege of CIF to present to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, on April 14, 2010.

Canada India Foundation – History and Purpose

Canada India Foundation was formed as a non-profit public policy organization for the express purpose of promoting stronger relations between Canada and India. During the past 5 years, we have been actively working towards this objective. We have been actively engaged with Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, Senators, including the Canada India Interparliamentary Friendship Group, as well as Indian business and political leaders. Our Charter members have, either individually or collectively, made substantial contributions to the creation and operation of Canada India centres on public policy in Canadian universities, such as Waterloo and Carleton.  Our most significant initiative has been the organization of thematic Canada India Public Policy Forums, focusing on selected opportunity sectors. We have held three such forums, on Energy (2009), Mining and Metals (2010), Agriculture and Food Processing (2012). The formats of the Forums have been identical.

CIF has invited senior leaders of government and government agencies, CEO’s and other leaders of private sector, independent industry experts, academicians to take part in panel sessions on a full range of sub-topics, with each panel, balanced and consisting of 6 stakeholders engaging in a discussion on the sub-topic, and culminating in a Go-Forward session, where the main discussion points were consolidated in to prioritized recommendations for action.

India – Demography and Opportunity

The demography based reasoning for both the opportunity for and the necessity of trade with India has been well documented. This would include the fact that 50% of India’s population is less than 23 years of age, the high propensity for savings of the average Indian (projected to be as much as 40% in 2015) and the voracious appetite of the domestic consumer (80% of India’s GDP is due to domestic consumption). According to the International Monetary Fund, India is the 10th largest in the world by nominal GDP and third by Purchasing Power Parity.

India imports $461 billion worth goods and exports $299 billion worth, of which Canada accounts for just $5.1 billion in bilateral trade, less than 0.7% of the total figures for India. Clearly these numbers are not defensible, given Canada and India’s considerable shared legacy, the English language, judicial and military system and most importantly the strong and economically vibrant Indo-Canadian community.

Engagement of States and State Governments

The current and likely-to-be-sustained geo-political climate in India has been the importance of the States of India to assert themselves more and more politically and economically. The excellent economic growth of Gujarat in the past decade is well documented and also acknowledged by Canada, evidenced by its participation as a country partner in the Vibrant Gujarat event. India

Gujarat is by no means India’s only gem. At a recent  widely televised public event in Tamil Nadu, presided over by its Chief Minister, Ms. J. Jayalalitha, MOU’s with a total value of about 4 billion dollars were signed with 12 companies, almost all with international partners, however, none of the partners were Canadian.

Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)

While the justification for the CEPA with India would be the creation of new jobs for Canadians and an increase in the average Canadian family’s annual income, the trigger for its success would be in demonstrating the benefits that India would accrue from the entering into such an agreement with Canada. There is a perception that the CEPA negotiations have not progressed as fast as one would hope and that there is a) a lack of energy on the Indian side, and b) there is the possibility of reaching an agreement that is much reduced in scope, something that Canada should not go along with.

If the CEPA negotiations have used India’s negotiations with Australia as the benchmark, we should also keep in mind that the India-Australia bi-lateral numbers are targeted to reach $50 billion by 2020. In that context, a target of $15 billion by 2015 for Canada is very modest, considering Canada has more natural resources than Australia, greater population base and a prosperous and more mature Indian diaspora.

Insofar as issues of importance in CEPA and strategies going forward, CIF cites the following matters to be addressed:

Facilitate the temporary entry and legitimate delivery of professional services between our two countries, such as to allow ease of temporary professional travel. A more progressive approach to enable hi-tech workers to come to Canada, especially when they would form the core of a foreign investment initiative from India, would offer more incentive for that initiative to succeed and also potentially increase the value of the initiative. This would also address the shortage of such workers here on a permanent basis. 

A clearer breakdown of the taxes and levies to which Canadian businesses and their products will be subject to, needs to be provided. 

Removal of tariff barriers which impede market access for Canadian exporters.

Phase in the lifting of tariff barriers. For certain industries, longer transition periods will be needed for them to adapt to a new context of tariff-free Canada-India trade. One area which has not realized its trade potential, due to excessive tariffs, is high-end textiles, with 35% tariff rates. Based on discussions with SME’s, this has caused a significant reduction in the volume of the business, which could be recovered and more, if the tariff were to be eliminated. 

Tackle non-tariff barriers. Regulatory approaches and standards differ across jurisdictions. CIF advocates regulations based on internationally accepted norms. Limits also need to be placed on the number and scope of regulations such that they not exceed what is necessary to achieve the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement.

Canadian businesses whose commercial or investment endeavours in India by technical barriers or regulatory measures, should be permitted to be part of a transparent consultation process.  

Inclusion of services as part of CEPA, given that the same represent nearly 75% of Canada’s GDP. Canadian financial companies in particular face significant restrictions on foreign direct investment in India’s banking and insurance sectors.

Ensure high standards of intellectual property protection.  

As the premier non-profit civic society organization, dedicated to the Canada-India corridor, with a membership that is not only active in promoting trade and other ties between the two countries, but also directly involved in some of the major investments by Indian companies in Canada and vice versa, CIF can actively complement the government negotiations with its own interactions to move the yardsticks forward.

Areas of Opportunity for Canada

CIF believes that, with a comprehensive approach to addressing the top 5 areas of partnership reflecting both Canada’s strength and India’s need, i.e. Energy, Agriculture, Education, Mining and Infrastructure (including water), the current target of $15 billion in bilateral trade should not only be easily achievable, but should force a rethink of the target to at least $30 billion, especially with the breakthrough in the nuclear sector. India’s infrastructure is also going through a remarkable transformation, that is both highly visible, to anyone who has visited some of India’s suburbs in big cities, e.g. Gurgaon, Noida, and quite invisible, particularly in the lower income areas.


  1. i) Nuclear

Prominent among the recommendations made by CIF, from its Energy Forum, was the speedy conclusion of a civil nuclear agreement between Canada and India. We were pleased to note that shortly after the Energy Forum, the first step towards the civil nuclear agreement was taken and now that the administrative arrangements have been agreed upon, it should not be long before this important element in Canada India trade will be in place, paving the way for Uranium sales[1]. Even though Canada is late in the game, behind countries such as France and Russia, it remains the premier full value player in the nuclear sector and given that the appetite for power in India is largely unsatiated, at 20% of requirement, it can still become a leading player in India.

Canada-India partnership in the civil nuclear sector, could grow beyond the borders of the two countries, into a third country investment partnership, for example the UAE, with which Canada has a civil nuclear agreement as well.

  1. ii) Natural Gas & Oil

Canada is not only the full value player in the nuclear sector, it is also a full value player in the overall energy sector, including oil and natural gas and we need to continuously play on this strength in all our discussions with India. New technologies have made natural gas very attractive both for the supplier (in this case, Canada) and the consumer (in this case, India). A great opportunity exists to exploit the Canada’s eastern gateway to export natural gas to India. Canada may have to unshackle its export license issuing mechanism to do this.

Strategically, Canada has to look at alternative partners in any case in the oil sector, considering the renaissance in the US oil industry, forcing Canadians to look elsewhere. Another of CIF’s recommendations from the Energy Forum was to create a Canada-India Energy taskforce. Such a task force would match the energy security needs of India, with the diverse energy product portfolio of Canada.

Education and Research

Much of the recent push, has been the need for Canada to attract the vast number of Indian’s students to attend universities and colleges in Canada. More than 12,000 students from India are in higher education programs in Canada, and that number is only going to increase, thanks to some very aggressive marketing by several Canadian universities. Still Canada’s cause in India will be better served, by implementing high visibility programs, both at the government level and at the private social entrepreneur level, that tackle the still latent educational potential for the average Indian child. In the long run, these students will be the future recruits for Canadian universities and eventually ambassadors for Canada, either as naturalized Canadians or returned graduates.

Canada also has a distinct advantage with its research facilities and can gain visibility and capital through partnering with Indian institutions.  On November 6, 2012, as part of the recent trade mission to India, Prime Minister Harper announced that the Canadian Government named the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnership to Accelerate Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS) as the winner of the Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence (CIRCE) competition, which had been announced as part of the Government’s Economic Action Plan 2011.

The competition winner, will bring together a team of expert researchers, industry innovators, community leaders, government agencies, and community organizations from both Canada and India to address three important issues that affect millions of people: safe and available drinking water, effective public health by preventing and treating disease, and reliable civil infrastructure, such as well constructed bridges and hospitals.  

CIF, as an organization, as well as through its individual membership, has been active in promoting various Centres of Excellence, including those established through the University of British Columbia, Carlton University (Canada India Centre for Excellence), the University of Toronto (Indian Innovation Institute) and the University of Waterloo (Chanchlani India Policy Centre) 


The recently concluded Canada India Agriculture and Food Processing Forum, organized by CIF, reiterated the importance of agriculture in the trading basket of goods with India. With food security high on the Indian government’s agenda which is being hampered by not always reliable monsoon season, poor infrastructure in storage and transportation, urgent initiatives are required. These would include the key recommendations made by the Agriculture Forum moderators, such as creating an environment for greater use of canola oil in India facilitated by import from India; use Canada’s expertise to increase India’s value-added food processing, food storage and distribution capacities, and turn bio-fuels such as wheat straw and rice husk into energy.


Investment in infrastructure is projected by FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) to double from its current value to $1 trillion in the twelfth five-year plan ending 2017. Much of this amount will have to be marked for roads, railways and ports, areas neglected in the previous plan

Engagement through CIF

CIF exists as a national non-profit organization specifically for the purpose of strengthening Canada India relations, so it would make sense that governments take advantage of CIF’s networking with India by financially supporting the organization’s administration and projects.

We thank you for giving us the opportunity on behalf of Canada India Foundation to make this submission.

[1] The re-opening of this door could and should lead to the development of Canada being able to export its nuclear power generating technology to India. This would see a dramatic increase in trade and ensure that Canada exports more than its raw material resources.

Minister Lynne Yelich speaks at Canada India Agriculture and Food Processing Forum

Canada India Agriculture and Food Processing Forum

September 13, 2012
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Notes for an address by

The Honourable Lynne Yelich
Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification

Speaking Notes (English)

Corresponding Documents: News Release

Check Against Delivery

Thank you Rahul Shastri [National Convenor, Canada India Foundation]. Good morning everyone. It’s an honour to be here on behalf of the Government of Canada. I also bring greetings from my colleagues, the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and International Trade Minister, the Honourable Ed Fast.

I would like to thank the Canada India Foundation for the opportunity to speak with you today. And to all of you, welcome to Saskatoon!

This is an exciting time for the economies of both Canada and India. The agriculture and food industry is a strong driver of jobs and growth in both of our great nations. Our Government applauds the great work this forum does to help your industries meet challenges and promote a dynamic and competitive food processing industry. We also recognize India’s growing importance as a leader in global commerce, as well as its development into one of the world’s largest emerging markets.

The Canadian food and beverage processing industry is the largest manufacturing industry in Canada, and the largest manufacturing employer, providing jobs for two hundred and ninety thousand (290,000) Canadians. In India, the processing industry serves a seventy-billion-dollar ($70B) market, accounting for about ten per cent (10%) of the world’s fruit production.

Our Government understands the importance of Canada’s agriculture sector and we are committed to strengthening its long term competitiveness. Both my colleague Gerry Ritz, Canada’s Agriculture Minister, and I grew up on farms not far from here.

Minister Ritz is a passionate advocate for agriculture and works closely with farmers and food processors to grow new markets for their world-class agriculture and food products.

As part of our Government’s strategy for economic growth and prosperity, we have been pursuing a very ambitious pro-trade plan. A few weeks ago, I led a public consultation in Saskatoon on the next phase of Canada’s Global Commerce Strategy. These extensive consultations, taking place across Canada, are seeking advice about the next phase of our pro-trade plan for jobs and economic growth.

In 2007, Our Government launched the Global Commerce Strategy to position Canada for long-term prosperity. It identified thirteen (13) priority markets around the world where opportunities for Canadian businesses and interests had the greatest potential for growth and success. This led to five years of Canadian leadership on the world stage fighting protectionism and supporting open trade, job creation, economic growth and prosperity for Canadians.

But the world has changed since we launched the first phase of our Strategy five years ago. We want to design our Strategy accordingly, and align our trade and investment objectives with exciting, high-growth markets and sectors around the world. To that end, we’ve focused our discussions and efforts on five key areas, with the goal of announcing our refreshed Strategy in twenty-thirteen (2013).

What are those five key areas?

First, we’re committed to ensuring Canadian businesses have access to priority markets around the world.

The second focus of our refreshed Strategy is to re-energize the support services that help Canadian businesses take advantage of opportunities abroad. Of course, this includes our Trade Commissioner Service.

The third focus is to ensure businesses get the capital they need to become more active around the world - joining forces with partners like Export Development Canada and the Canada Commercial Corporation..

The fourth focus of our updated Global Commerce Strategy is to ensure our businesses — especially our small and medium-sized enterprises – have access to the technology they need.

And, finally, the fifth focus is all about "people" — ensuring that our businesses have access to the very best talent and brainpower the world has to offer.

In Canada, we have a relatively small population, so half of farmers’ production is ultimately exported beyond our shores. Creating new export markets for Canadian-made products will stimulate economic growth which will preserve our Canadian economic advantage now and in the future. In six (6) years, we have concluded trade agreements with nine (9) countries.

And we have many more in progress, including, of course, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between Canada and India. As you know, a fifth round of talks was held in July.

It’s estimated that, once concluded, the agreement could boost the Indian and Canadian economies by at least six billion dollars ($6B) each, and result in a significant increase in bilateral trade. That will translate into new jobs and new economic growth in both our nations.

Both of our Prime Ministers not only recognize this potential but have committed to increasing bilateral trade to fifteen billion dollars ($15B) by twenty-fifteen (2015). That’s an ambitious, but achievable, goal.

Last year, overall trade between Canada and India exceeded five billion dollars ($5.2B), and agriculture and food made up close to twenty per cent (20%) of that. And our agricultural trade is growing, up almost a hundred and fifty million dollars ($146M) in the past two years alone.

Here in Saskatchewan our trade with India surpassed a half a billion dollars ($559M) last year and is already up over a quarter (27%) for the first half of twenty-twelve (2012). Key agri-food commodities traded between our countries include rice, coriander, cashews, and, of course, our pulse crops, which supply about a third of the Indian market, with the vast majority coming from right here in Saskatchewan.

But it’s interesting to note that our trade with India is diversifying, with the non-pulse component increasing considerably in the first half of this year.

India is also a major market for Canada’s potash, with about a third of world’s production coming from right here in Saskatchewan, which is home to companies such as Canpotex and Potash Corp. Cameco is also headquartered here in the province, as a key supplier of uranium to supply India’s energy needs, supported by the Nuclear Co-operation Agreement that was reached between Canada and India two years ago.

On the innovation side, a third of Canada’s agricultural bio-tech community is located here in Saskatchewan. This is supporting strong relationships with India, including the formation of the National Agri-Biotechnology Institute in Mohali, in partnership with University of Saskatchewan.

India’s strong tradition of entrepreneurship and innovation, coupled with its excellence and growing capacity in science and technology, makes it an excellent partner in the knowledge-based economy for Canada. Canada, in turn, is particularly well placed to partner with India in this area, primarily due to the significant investments we have made in science and technology.

My colleagues, Minister Ritz, and Minister Fast, are keeping a strong focus on the Canada-India trading relationship. Minister Ritz has led two trade missions to India, securing Canada’s first agricultural MOU with India to promote dialogue and information exchanges, co-operation and technology transfer in: emerging technologies; agricultural marketing; and animal development.

This agreement is already bearing much fruit, with: the establishment of a dairy herd registration system; the development of weather-based crop insurance programs; and Innovation in pulse production and usage.

In food processing, as well, we can work together to facilitate the processing of cereals, fruits and vegetables. We can work towards the creation of a food development centre in India, focussing on key pillars like food security, sustainability and safety, which are the themes of this conference.

I understand the Governments of Manitoba and Alberta have been in touch with Punjab (puhn-jahb) and Haryana (harr-yee-ana) states to set up such a centre.

Here in Saskatoon, my department, WD, recently invested in two projects at the Saskatchewan Food Centre and P.O.S. Pilot Plant to extract juice and mash from fruit. Then, the mash is condensed into a concentrated powder, which can be easily transported and sold as a nutritional additive for vitamins or medications.

But my Department’s support can be seen across the West. For example, similar investments are benefiting Manitoba’s agriculture and food processing sector. WDcontributed to expand the Food Development Centre in Portage la Prairie. New wet and dry labs expanded their commercial food processing capacity.

We also invested in the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre to acquire state-of-the-art research and processing equipment for its new Centre of Excellence. This cutting-edge equipment will enable the Centre to undertake more collaborative work with major worldwide malting and brewing companies and to meet increased international standards. This, in turn, will result in greater use of Canadian barley, particularly in growing export markets in Asia, Africa and South America.

WD also invested in the construction of the British Columbia Cranberry Marketing Commission’s new Cranberry Research Centre in Delta. Funding will aid in the construction of the centre, the first of its kind in Canada, and only the fourth in North America. This new research centre will serve as a test facility where current and new cranberry varieties can be evaluated using various growing mediums and alternate production techniques.

In addition, over 900 food processor members from associations in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and BC will benefit from another WD project, led by the Saskatchewan Food Processors Association, to market western Canadian food products. This is introducing buyers from China, Hong Kong, South Korea, India, and many others to Western Canada, where they will discover the wide range of food products we have to offer them. It is also supporting trade missions to Asia-Pacific countries, where our food processors can learn how to better meet the needs and wants of foreign consumers.

One of the most important roles our Government plays is to ensure Canada has a competitive marketplace. Being competitive in the modern economy means expanding and adapting to a changing global market. Jobs and growth are our top priority.

The emergence of the Asia-Pacific region and its position at the forefront of a changing global economy is one of the most defining features of the 21st century economic landscape. The rapidly growing economies of these countries are not only transforming global trade and investment patterns...

They are also creating new possibilities for strengthened economic relations with nations such as Canada, whose economic prosperity depends heavily on international trade. Western Canada, in particular, is uniquely positioned – both geographically and economically – to capitalize on these new economic opportunities.

And we can help India meet its ambitious goal of tripling the size of its food processing industry by twenty-fifteen (2015). This will require: Enhancing the competitiveness of the food processing industry; Making the sector attractive for domestic and foreign investors; and integrating food processing infrastructure from farm to market.

Canada can also provide expertise in the area of handling and storage and equipment in grain and other products, to help the industry in India reduce losses and capture new opportunities.

This is just the beginning. I have no doubt we will continue to see new partnerships right along the value chain.

Trade has many moving parts -- but to succeed it must go both ways and benefit both sides. Canada’s growing trade with India is fuelled by our strong ties – both business-to-business and people-to-people.

Across Canada, a vibrant Indo-Canadian community helps to enrich our land, and our culture. Add to that the student and other cultural exchanges that came out of our celebrations of the Year of India in Canada in twenty-eleven (2011).

Trade is a relationship based on friendship. It’s about exchange of ideas and technology. It’s about exploring ways each partner can help the other partner grow and prosper. As all the world seeks out new ways to feed a growing population, our Government will continue working with the agriculture and food sector in India to help both of our industries meet challenges and capture new opportunities.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I want to extend my congratulations to everyone who has worked to make this event a reality.

Together, we are working to build a stronger West for a stronger Canada.

Thank you. Merci.


Prime Minister Harper's remarks at the Diwali celebrations in Parliament


October 20, 2011

For immediate release



Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the following remarks during the Parliament Hill Diwali celebration:

“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a real pleasure to be here and to celebrate Diwali with all of you.

“First off, I’d like to thank the man who had the vision for the first ever Parliament Hill Diwali celebration.

“And now, after a lot of hard work, 11 years later, it’s bigger and better than ever, thanks to Deepak Obhrai.

“Deepak has a real talent for bringing people together.

“That’s why he does such a great job with this event; that’s why he does so much for his riding; and that’s also why he is an outstanding Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs.

“But most important, Deepak and Neena have raised a wonderful family.

“They are an Indo-Canadian success story and they can both be especially proud of their third-generation Canadian Obhrais.

“Their family keeps growing.  And so does this annual celebration.

“With more than 25 Hindu temples and community organizations from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, tonight’s event is a perfect example of the spirit that unites

the Indo-Canadian community.

“Not just for Diwali, but all year long.

“I’d like to thank the India-Canada Association of the National Capital Region and Indo-Canadian Ottawa Business Chamber for making tonight possible.

“This is a terrific celebration, not only of Diwali, but also of the important contribution that one million Indo-Canadians make in communities across the country.

“And I would especially like to thank – I know we would all like to thank - the Indian High Commission for sponsoring tonight’s entertainment.

“I could not have imagined a better way to mark the grand finale of the “Year of India in Canada.

“Of course, we began that journey together right here at this museum

back in March.

“From here, events spread right across Canada from Halifax to Victoria.

“Over the last few months Canadians from all walks of life have enjoyed a unique opportunity to celebrate the richness of India’s art, music and dance.

“And I know that the Year of India has raised the interest of many Canadians in travelling to India.

“And I do hope this interest in travel between our two countries grows, because my own time in India was a real experience.

“From the excitement of the set of Dance Premier League in Mumbai, to the solemnity of the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat, to the awe of the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple in New Delhi, my short time in India provided one memorable and moving experience after another.

“And I’m pleased to observe that the visit was reciprocated.  Last year Prime Minster Singh came to Toronto.  

“Under Prime Minister Singh’s leadership, India is well on the way to becoming

an economic superpower.

“The South Asian Tiger is growing stronger every day.

“And that’s why our Government has opened new trade missions throughout India.

“But there’s always more to do.

“That’s why Prime Minister Singh and I have begun a historic initiative: the launch of negotiations aimed at producing a comprehensive free trade and economic partnership agreement between our two great countries.

“And I have to give credit where credit is due.

“Right from the day he came to Ottawa, nobody has worked longer and harder to promote freer trade with India than our own Deepak Obhrai.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Canada and India are natural partners. We are both proud members of the Commonwealth.

“We share the Westminster System of parliamentary democracy.

“We believe in the ingenuity of federalism to accommodate regional differences in a united country.

“And of course we both value the pluralism and diversity of our societies.

“Those values are at the core of the warm relationship between Canada and India.

“And that’s not all that we share.

“In today’s world we enjoy, more and more, the same entertainment.

“Bollywood movies are now followed by people of all backgrounds.

“And both countries love my good friend Akshay Kumar.

“And, let me do a plug. If you haven’t seen it, his new movie Breakaway is a great cross of Bollywood and Hollywood movie cultures, and a interesting insight on the contribution of Indo-Canadians to our country’s identity.

“So, ladies and gentlemen, there is no better time to celebrate that contribution than Diwali.

“The Festival of Lights is celebrated not only by Hindus, but also Sikhs, Jains, Buddists and others around the world.

“Everyone can celebrate the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.

“The lights, which symbolize that triumph, make for a uniquely warm celebration.

“Diwali – with its oil lamps, fireworks, gifts and sweets – weaves together important symbols.

“Together, they tell a sacred story, unite families, and provide us all with a vivid demonstration of the Indo-Canadian contribution to the life of this country.

“So, in closing, on behalf of all Canadians, I want to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes for a happy, healthy, bright and colourful Diwali to all of you and to your families.


- 30 -

PMO Press Office: 613-957-5555

This document is also available at 

Canadian Premiers Release Strategy on Global Economy

The Council of the Federation

Canadian Premiers release strategy on global economy, Plan trade mission to Asia

VANCOUVER, July 22, 2011 -- Premiers today released a strategy entitled Canada in the Global Economy. They also announced that, within 12 months, Premiers will pursue a joint Council of the Federation mission to Asia with the federal government to advancean ambitious international trade agenda for Canada.As committed international actors with increasingly sophisticated global connections and capabilities, provinces and territories are an integral part of any international strategy for Canada, particularly given their responsibility for many of the matters addressed in modern trade agreements. The four-point strategy released today by Premiers outlines specific actions to harness the common and individual strengths of provinces and territories and help position Canada strongly in the global economy: 1. Ensure a robust and forward-thinking Canadian trade and investment agenda is in place with appropriate attention to markets including the United States, the European Union (EU), Asia, as well as other emerging markets.  2. Maintain and expand Canada’s physical infrastructure and gateway policy to accommodate and encourage the flow of people, services and goods.3. Facilitate the movement of people – including tourists, immigrants, international students, and business people – and capitalize on the opportunities available to Canada through globally connected Canadians and the linkages they can create between Canada and the world.4. Build and deepen productive relationships with Canada’s trading partners by becoming better educated about international cultures, economies and global connections – and better educate the international community about Canada.At their meeting, Premiers emphasized the need to intensify efforts in Asia by better promoting Canada and the provinces and territories and realizing economic opportunities for all of Canada.  Premiers agreed that we must better leverage our gateways and land-based borders, plentiful natural resources, value-added manufactured goods, and our broad services sector, to strengthen our relationships with Asia.  Canadians’ immense personal, cultural and business connections, throughout Asia, coupled with Canada’s diversity are also a unique advantage.   Timely development of strategic infrastructure and policies necessary to facilitate trade are crucial if Canada is to compete successfully in Asian markets.  Premiers agreed to support and encourage the development and expansion of infrastructure, ports, gateway, and transportation initiatives focusing on our competitive advantages.Premiers recognized that Asia represents a critical missing pillar in Canada’s trade and investment framework and called on the federal government to enhance access for goods, services and citizens between Canada and Asian markets with a high priority to China, India, Korea, Japan and Singapore.Currently, Canada has no trade agreements with Asia. The federal government must set a new and ambitious trade and liberalization agenda to guide Canada’s engagement with Asian countries. Premiers encourage the federal government to achieve theCanada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the participationof provinces and territories. Reflecting the importance of two-way trade with Asia to Canada’s economic prosperity, the trade mission to Asia will focus on China and India and highlight key sectors of importance to provinces and territories. Building on the federal government’s commitment to work with the provinces and territories to advance an ambitious international trade agenda for Canada, Premiers invite the Prime Minister to join them in making this important mission a success.Premiers noted that this year has been designated as the Year of India in Canada by the Government of India with activities taking place in several provinces.  This initiative offers Canadians an opportunity to know more about India, its diversity, its culture, traditions and future.  Such initiatives build bridges and enhance relationships and understanding between India and all parts of Canada and illustrate Canada’s place in the world as a globally significant market.Canada in the Global Economy stresses the importance of taking advantage of the Beyond the Border Working Group and the Regulatory Cooperation Council to improve upon the mature trade, economic and energy relationship between Canada and the US. Premiers believe that provinces and territories need to have active and meaningful participation in this important initiative.  Premiers will continue their discussion on Canada-US Relations when they meet with Washington Governor Christine Gregoire,immediate past chair of the National Governors Association, and Gary Doer, Canada’s Ambassador to the United States.  Premiers discussed progress on the negotiations with the European Union to complete a Canada/EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). An ambitious agreement would enhance Canada’s access to the European market.  A joint CanadaEU study estimates that by 2014, there will be a positive economic impact of $12 billion for Canada (0.77% of GDP) and $18 billion for the EU. In recognition that many of the areas covered by the CETA would potentially be under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, the federal government has supported the direct participation of provincesand territories in the international negotiations.  Premiers stressed the importance of provincial and territorial participation in international trade negotiations affecting areas of provincial and territorial jurisdiction.  Premiers support concluding the CETA negotiations by 2012.Premiers also recognize that there are many other opportunities and markets important to Canadians and Canadian businesses and committed to continuing to work together to build relationships with other key global markets such as Mexico and the Americas. Premiers noted that Canada’s diversity and infrastructure also offer advantages to accessing these markets.Premiers reiterated their call for an effective partnership between federal, provincial and territorial governments to ensure the best outcomes for immigrants and communities to build a prosperous Canada.  Canada’s immigration programs must be adaptable and responsive to diverse regional needs and demographic pressures.   Provinces and territories are in the best position to assess the needs of their communities and regional economies and integrate settlement and integration services with other human services including education, health, social services, and labour market services.Premiers agreed that growth in immigration levels for 2012 and beyond is essential to create a flexible, responsive and effective economic immigration program. Provinces and territories must have an equal role with the federal government and call on the federal government to remove arbitrary application ceilings in the Provincial Nominee Program combined with higher levels in the Federal Skilled Worker Program and jointlyset overall immigration levels that will sustain economic growth. Jurisdictions must also have a direct role in managing federally funded settlement and integration programming.   A number of Premiers expressed an interest in building on the success of devolved models in Québec, British Columbia and Manitoba. Premiers would be pleased to work with the federal government on how to address processing backlogs and the capacity to absorb immigrants into provinces and territories.Québec is already responsible for selecting immigrants and settlement services in Québec under the Canada-Québec Accord.Premiers also endorsed an International Education Marketing Action Plan, which supports the goals of Canada in the Global Economy.  The Action Plan identifies opportunities for federal-provincial-territorial collaboration on marketing aiming at: Increasing the number of international students studying in Canada; Increasing Canada’s share of the international student market; Providing more opportunities for Canadian students to study abroad as appropriate ; and Retaining a greater number of international student graduates as permanent residents.The recent federal budget committed $10 million over two years to promote our broadly recognized quality education systems. Premiers welcome this commitment and encourage the federal government to assist provinces and territories in the implementation of their International Education Marketing Plan.Provinces and territories will work with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to explore ways to enhance visa processing operations in key markets building on the success of the Student Partners Program. In 2008, international students spent $6.5 billion in Canada and created over 83,000 jobs.  By 2025, the global demand for international education is predicted to quadruple from 1.8 million to 7.2 million students.Canada in the Global Economy, as well as the International Education Marketing Action Plan, can be found at