By Euan Rocha
GANDHINAGAR, India, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Canada is keen to
boost its business ties with India and is moving forward with
attempts to seal a trade pact with the South Asian country,
Canada's minister of infrastructure and communities told
"There is an emphasis on signing a trade agreement with
India," Amarjeet Sohi said in an interview on Tuesday. "The
process was begun in 2014 and we are putting great emphasis on
moving the discussions forward."
Sohi, speaking on the sidelines of Vibrant Gujarat - a big
biennial investor gathering in the western state of Gujarat that
is home to India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that
two-way annual trade between the countries currently stood at
C$8.3 billion ($6.3 billion) in 2015 and is set to grow
Trade flow with India has grown 30 percent from 2014 levels,
but the size of bilateral trade between the nations is
relatively small, at about one-tenth the size of Canada's annual
trade flow with China, according to Statistics Canada data.
"India is absolutely critical for Canada to engage with, as
it is not only a growing economy, but a major regional player."
Some of Canada's largest pension funds and investment firms
- ranging from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Ontario
Teachers Pension Plan to Fairfax Financial and
Brookfield Asset Management - have in recent years put
billions of dollars into investments within infrastructure, real
estate and even start-ups in India.
Canadian funds have invested close to C$15 billion in India
in recent years and we see a lot of potential of that investment
growing, said Sohi.
Some of the leading edge companies in Canada focus on urban
infrastructure and if you look at the needs of urban centres in
India there are lot of opportunities for collaboration and
growth in that sector.
Canada's Bombardier Inc, which has a manufacturing
base in Gujarat, has been a key supplier of rail locomotives and
equipment to the metro systems in both Mumbai and New Delhi.
($1 = 1.3225 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Himani Sarkar)