India and Canada will aim for an "early progress deal" as the first goal of trade negotiations that they have agreed to resume, Canadian trade minister Mary Ng said.
"I had an excellent conversation with my Indian counterpart (Piyush Goyal) on relaunching negotiations for the trade pact. The teams will soon start negotiations," she said. "I am hoping we can conclude an early progress deal. I would like to describe it as an early progress deal rather than an early harvest deal."
An early harvest deal is often seen as a precursor to a free trade agreement (FTA), and is used to liberalise tariffs on certain goods before a formal FTA is signed.
Ng, the 1st Canadian minister to visit India since the re-election of the Justin Trudeau government, was talking to ET after her meeting with commerce & industry minister Piyush Goyal. She said the Trudeau government had put a big emphasis on India as part of its Indo-Pacific outreach. "India is a key element of Canada's Indo-Pacific strategy. India is a major market in the Indo-Pacific region and an important part of Canada's progressive trade agenda. Subsequently, this strategy will also include Asean and Indonesia in particular."
India and Canada held the 5th Ministerial Dialogue on Trade & Investment here on 11th. The ministers agreed to formally relaunch the India-Canada Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations.
India is currently also negotiating trade pacts with the UK and Australia and looking at an ambitious trade deal with the EU. Canada's economic partnership with India is about $100 billion. Two-way trade now stands at $10.5 billion and services exceed $6.67 billion. Two-way foreign direct investment is now at $5 billion, while portfolio investment is approaching $65 billion from public sources.
There are 6 priority sectors for Canada in India: agriculture, automotive, cleantech, infrastructure, information & communications technology and life sciences.