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FIPPA, CEPA to conclude soon: Sharma

He says the agreements, which would safeguard investors' rights and boost bilateral trade and investment, would be finalised soon.

twitter-logo PTI   Toronto     Last Updated: September 27, 2010  | 13:34 IST

Commerce Minister Anand Sharma has said the Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between India and Canada, which would safeguard investors' rights and boost bilateral trade and investment, would be finalised soon.

"India and Canada have exchanged draft of Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (FIPPA) agreement and differences over the taxation and expropriation issues will be resolved soon, and negotiations have started on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)," Sharma told newsmen on Thursday.

Sharma said that while India wanted that taxation and expropriation issues should not be part of the proposed FIPPA agreement and these issues should be dealt with separately in the double taxation treaty between the two countries, Canada wanted taxation to be part of the pact.

India had maintained the same stand when it had signed similar agreements with other countries, he added.

The minister said that he would be meeting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan and other ministers in Ottawa on Friday and would try to resolve the outstanding issues.

Both countries have begun negotiations on CEPA between India and Canada, he said.

"FIPPA and CEPA would open up markets for both countries businesses looking for new opportunities abroad," Sharma said.

Later addressing top executives of Canadian companies at a dinner hosted by the Canada-India Business Council (C-IBC), the Minister said: "India's trade and investment partnership with Canada is on an exciting path; one that holds great promise for both countries as we continue toward lasting economic recovery."

He said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Canada and Canadian Prime Minister's visit to India last year, underlined the commitment of both the nations to enhance their relationship to increase the bilateral trade to USD 15 billion annually in the next five year.

"This is an achievable target," said Sharma, adding that both the leaders welcomed the conclusion of the joint study, which identified substantial potential economic gains that both countries could achieve through CEPA.

Sharma also said that Minister Loan would be visiting India in next few weeks on his invitation.

Commenting on India's economic growth, Sharma said: "This year I'm hopeful of a 9 per cent economic growth for India. And the country has now reached a stage to embark on a second Green Revolution."

He said that in the last three years, India has become the second-most favoured destination for FDI as investments are secure and returns are high.

Optimistic about India witnessing more investments in times to come, he said, "We propose to set up National Manufacturing and Investments Zones in India in the next few years."

"Hopefully, before this winter, we will be able to set a National Manufacturing Policy that will attract investors from across the globe. Together we can work to make India one of the workshops of the world," he added.

The Minister also urged the Canadian companies to invest in India and facilitate transfer of technology.

"We (India and Canada) are collaborating in the science and technology sectors so that both the countries benefit from the new knowledge and technologies that are helping drive economic growth."

Sharma emphasised on greater linkages between the Universities and Colleges, Agriculture Universities, and Space Departments of both the countries. "We must work together for new technology and innovation," he said.

Describing India as "a land of opportunity", the Minister invited Canadian companies, universities to set up institutions of excellence in India.

Replying to a query that several countries, including Scotland, Canada and Australia have delayed the departure of their contingents to India following reports of poor conditions of Commonwealth Games Village, the Minister said that issue is being dealt with at the highest level and the Games would held on time.

Consul General of India Preeti Saran and President of the C-IBC Rana Sarkar were also present at the event.

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