'India one of Canada's priority markets'
Friday, 22 August 2003, 07:00 Hrs
CHANDIGARH: Canada considers India to be one of its top priority markets and would like to forge a synergy for bilateral trade. Canadian High Commissioner Peter H. Sutherland Friday said here: "With India's size as the 12th largest economy in the world based on gross domestic product (GDP) and the fourth largest in purchasing power parity, its solid economic performance, market opening reforms, and rising prosperity, it is designated as one of the Canada's top 10 priority markets." The envoy was participating in an interactive meeting with members of the PHDCCI chamber of commerce in this twin capital of Punjab and Haryana. Canada is the only country that has a consular office here on account of the large number of immigrants there from Punjab. Sutherland said that in 2002, Canada's exports to India touched a record high, clocking an increase of 25 percent from 2001. "But to fully tap the potential, there is a need to forge a synergy for bilateral trade, particularly in priority areas like agriculture, agri-processing, biotechnology, information technology, environment and tourism," he said. "Education is also identified as one of the areas of prime importance in which India and Canada can join hands." PHDCCI's Chandigarh committee chairman Vikram Sahgal said to further develop bilateral trade, Canada's financial resources and technical expertise could be combined with India's vast reservoir of technically skilled manpower and natural resources to cater to the needs of the Indian and neighbouring Asian markets. He also highlighted the need to enhance business cooperation in areas like infrastructure, including power, ports, roads and telecommunications. The co-chairman of PHDCCI's Punjab committee, R.S. Sachdeva, said the business community, particularly in northern India, was keen to enhance ties with their counterparts in Canada. He suggested that the two sides identify specific projects and areas for setting up of joint ventures and collaborations, especially at the small and medium enterprise (SME) level.