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Canada Minister Mary Ng indicates about re-establishment of trade with India

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OTTAWA : India and Canada trade pact have been paused over six months after negotiations over an early harvest, there is no timeline for their resumption but high level contact may be re-established this week at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial. Canada’s Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development Mary Ng hinted during the course of an interview in CTV News on Sunday.

“I will see my counterpart when I get to the WTO in the next couple of days,” she told host Vassy Kapelos, referring to Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal. The four-day WTO ministerial meet is being held in Abu Dhabi, beginning on Monday.

However, renewed discussions over the Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA) remain in limbo, as Ng said, ““We haven’t made any decisions at this point.”

The talks, which began in March 2022 when Ng visited New Delhi, were paused in late August just before Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement in the House of Commons that there were “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and the killing of pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, on June 18.

“I’m heartened to see the activity between Canadian enterprises and India continues and we are seeing encouraging signs of the investigation that is taking place, of course independently,” she said. Some movement has already resumed with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe visiting India this month to strengthen trade ties, preceded by Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Victor Fedeli. Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also joined Moe in India.

“I’ve been very clear with Canadians who are doing business (with India) that they can count on our support, and that continues,” Ng said.

During a media event in Toronto on Friday, India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa Sanjay Kumar Verma said the two countries were “very close to concluding” the EPTA when India “suddenly heard about the pause from the Canadian side.”

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