• Monday, June 17, 2024

Business

Talks for India-Canada free trade deal to resume once political issues are settled: official

On September 2, around a week before its prime minister Justin Trudeau visited India for the G20 summit, Canada announced that it had halted the talks for the trade deal.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau at the Bharat Mandapam during the G20 Lleaders’ summit, at Pragati Maidan, in New Delhi on Saturday, September 9, 2023. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

NEGOTIATIONS for a free-trade agreement (FTA) between India and Canada will resume after political issues between the two countries are resolved, a senior official was cited as saying by PTI on Friday (15).

On September 2, around a week before its prime minister Justin Trudeau visited India for the G20 summit, Canada announced that it had halted the talks for the trade deal.

“There were certain political developments in Canada on which India has raised the objections. India has shown a strong resentment against certain political developments in Canada, and therefore, for the time being, till these political issues are settled, we have paused the negotiations,” the official was quoted as saying by the news agency.

The official, however, said that the talks will resume the moment the political issues are sorted out.
“So, it is only a pause,” the person added.

Trudeau reportedly had a less-than-ideal outing at the G20 summit as his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi conveyed to him New Delhi’s strong concerns about anti-India activities being staged on Canadian soil by extremist elements such as pro-Khalistan activists.

There were reports of promotion of secessionism, inciting of violence against Indian diplomats posted in the North American country and threatening the Indian community there.

Trudeau skipped some key developments that took place at the G20 summit, including the gala dinner hosted by Indian president Droupadi Murmu on Sunday (10), the concluding day of the summit.

The Canadian prime minister also faced a backlash in his country over the alleged disrespect that he faced in India with both the media and the opposition targeting him. An extremist group in Canada also warned New Delhi to shut down its embassy in Ottawa and recall its ambassador and high commissioner in Canada.

More than a dozen rounds of talks have been held between India and Canada on the trade deal so far.

In March 2022, New Delhi and Ottawa re-launched talks for an interim agreement, officially named Early Progress Trade Agreement.

In such an agreement, the two sides reduce or eliminate customs duties significantly on the maximum number of goods traded between them. They also liberalise norms for promoting trade in services and attract investments.

Indian industry was aiming at duty-free access for products such as textiles and leather, besides easy visa norms for the movement of professionals. Canada has interests in areas such as dairy and agricultural products.

The bilateral trade between India and Canada has increased $8.16 billion (£6.5 billion) in 2022-23 from $7 (£5.6 billion) billion in 2021-22.

(With PTI inputs)

Related Stories

Loading