Canada India Foundation members and other prominent stakeholders met with Hon. Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles in Toronto on May 09, 2023. The meeting was arranged to exchange views on the latest developments in the proposed EPTA (Early Progress Trade Agreement). The meeting took place a day after Minister Goyal met with Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Mary Ng in Ottawa during the sixth India- Canada Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment (MDTI).
Hosted by India’s Consul General in Toronto, Minister Goyal got the opportunity to hear directly from prominent businesspeople in the Indo Canadian community on their hopes and aspirations regarding the Canada India bilateral ties.
India’s High Commissioner, H.E. Sanjay Verma, Consul General of India in Toronto, Ms. Apoorva Srivastava and Consul General of India in Vancouver, Mr. Manish attended the meeting, and expressed their optimism on the current negotiations leading to positive outcomes.
Satish Thakkar, Chair, CIF, briefed Minister Goyal on the various initiatives being promoted covering many areas of Canada India cooperation including the bilateral sector-wise industry forums held to bring together stakeholders in both countries. He pointed out that following one such a forum on energy organized by the CIF, an agreement on nuclear energy cooperation was signed between Canada and India.
CIF members were keen to hear from the Minister on ways to increase sourcing from India to benefit their businesses in Canada.
Ritesh Malik, National Convener highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship at grassroots in India as the Indian MSME sector is one of the largest contributors to the Indian economy with micro enterprises as the dominant growth enabler. His group’s investment in an impact-driven MSME Fintech startup ARTH (www.arthimpact.in) has helped over 3,50,000 micro businesses with access to responsible credit and health insurance, out of which 30% are women enterprises. The platform has facilitated close to ₹475 crores of credit to nano and micro businesses across India leveraging it’s technology, data & partner-led distribution capabilities.
Ray Gupta, Chairman of Sunray Group with a large presence in the hospitality sector, while inquiring about sourcing for his chain from India stressed on the need for higher quality controls.
Pankaj Dave, CEO of Manas International that trades in metals, requested careful management of tariffs on metals as any sudden increase impacts the business adversely.
Dr. V.I. Lakshmanan, OC, Chair, Process Research ORTECH Inc. and a recipient of the Order of Canada, & Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) listed areas that could prove productive for the Canada India relationship, especially in the mining sector and smart fabric for health sector.
CIF Board of Governor members Mr. Girish Kekre, Mr. Ramesh Chotai, Mr. Vinod Vyas and Mr. Mike Mehta also discussed their ideas of trade, tariff, commerce and manufacturing with the robust Make in India initiative.
Minister Goyal thanked the members for their suggestions and added that government of India is very focused on making sure that quality is a top priority in everything which is exported or imported into the country. Additionally, India is already looking to broaden the scope of quality control and adding more items on a regular basis to build trust among buyers for India-made products.
He said that India today has a strong, stable, and decisive government that is determined to turn the country into to manufacturing powerhouse.
Minister Goyal informed the gathering that a National Single Window System (NSWS) is in effect to support entrepreneurs from across the world interested in establishing their businesses in India. He invited Canadian entrepreneurs to become the part of India’s growth journey.
Minister Goyal laid out the reasons why India offers a great opportunity to businesses in Canada and elsewhere as India is today the fastest growing major economy. As India grows, the markets for products and services will increase exponentially in the coming years, offering companies unprecedented benefits. He urged the potential investors to move quickly to avoid missing this great window opening.
Speaking on the current trade negotiations between India and other countries including Canada, he noted that India would like to ensure that all such agreements are a win-win for both parties. Friendly bilateral ties between governments and the people go a long way in helping to conclude the negotiations.
He appreciated the role of Indian diaspora in Canada and described them as the “permanent ambassadors of India.” Indian diaspora organization can play a role in building these links needed to take the file forward, he said. He invited the business community to get engaged with India that has changed dramatically and is on the path to bringing prosperity to every Indian citizen.