India and Canada sign six pacts, but no breakthrough in BIPA, CEPA talks

India and Canada sign six pacts, but no breakthrough in BIPA, CEPA talks

India and Canada sign six pacts, but no breakthrough in BIPA, CEPA talks

India and Canada inked six pacts on Friday, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau failed to end the impasse over the proposed trade and investment agreements.

Modi and Trudeau witnessed exchange of six pacts to boost bilateral cooperation in diverse fields - information and communication technology and electronics, petroleum and natural gas, sports, intellectual property rights, higher education and nuclear science, technology and innovation.

"We have agreed to deepen our economic engagement," Modi said, as he and Trudeau addressed the media after holding talks at the Hyderabad House here. "It is important to give our economic partnership an institutional structure. We have asked our negotiators to redouble efforts to conclude Bilateral Investment and Promotion Agreement (BIPA) and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)," said Modi.

Ottawa has been nudging New Delhi to ink BIPA first, as negotiations over the proposed deal reached the final stage. New Delhi, however, has been keen to ink BIPA and CEPA together. The negotiations on CEPA did not make much progress though.

"Canada and India share a special friendship, and the agreements that we reached today will grow our middle class, create new opportunities for Canadians and Indians alike, and deepen the bonds that bring our two countries together," said Trudeau. He also described India as "a natural partner" of Canada for commercial cooperation.

Modi and Trudeau on Friday agreed to encourage private sectors to further explore investment opportunities in both countries, including through India's flagship programmes such as Make in India, Start-Up India, Digital India and Smart Cities, as well as Canadian programmes such as the Innovation and Skills Plan, the Canadian Technology Accelerators, the Start-Up VISA Program and the Global Skills Strategy.

They applauded the launch of the Canada-India Accelerator Program for Women Tech Entrepreneurs, as well as the decision to convene a Canada-India Track 1.5 Dialogue on innovation, growth and prosperity.

Modi and Trudeau emphasised the importance of ensuring access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food for all, and noted that transparency and predictability of market access conditions, including sharing of information on production of agricultural commodities, were key in advancing food security goals of both countries.

"India and Canada will work closely together to finalise an arrangement within 2018 to enable the export of Canadian pulses to India free from pests of quarantine importance, with mutually acceptable technological protocols," a joint statement issued by the two prime ministers after the meeting stated. "The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will continue to work closely with the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority to facilitate access for Indian organic products."