Pre Budget Consultation with
Hon. Ed Fast
Canadian government’s Economic Action Plan 2013 will focus on four major areas of infrastructure, education, food security and energy in promoting its relations with India, announced Hon. Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Asia Pacific Gateway during a pre-budget consultation roundtable with the members of Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) on 22 January, 2013. The Economic Action Plan 2013 will be presented in the House of Commons in March, 2013.
ICCC President Naval Bajaj, Hon. Minister Ed Fast, Hon. Minister Gosal with Satish Thakkar, ICCC's Immediate Past President
Bal Gosal, Minister of State for Sports, Mr Brad Butt, Member of Parliament from Mississauga Streetsville, Mr Ted Menzies, Member of Parliament from Macleod, Mr Merv Tweed Member of Parliament from Brandon Souris, Manitoba and Mr. Satish Thakkar, immediate past president ICCC were also present on the occasion.
Minister Ed Fast added “Trade is most critical driver of prosperity not only for India but also for Canada.” He acknowledged the ICCC efforts in building Brand Canada in India and appreciated India Mission 2013 initiative to foster trade ties.
Giving information about the on-going trade talks between Canada and India, the Minister said, “There are around 500 Canadian companies working in India and more would start their operations after the CEPA implementation. CEPA will help in removing the tariff and non-tariff trade barriers.”
The current trade with India is around US$ 5.2 billion and it will go up to US$ 15 billion by the year 2015. The Minister was keen to leverage Canada India partnership at the higher level to understand what needs to improve and explore new areas in relations to India.
Mr. Naval Bajaj, ICCC President, Hon. Minister Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Asia Pacific Gateway, Hon Minister Bal Gosal, Minister of State for Sports and Mr. Satish Thakkar, Immediate Past President, ICCC.
Hon. Minister Ed Fast with ICCC board members
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Naval Bajaj, President, ICCC stated the chamber’s initiative during the India Mission 2013 to build Brand Canada in India and promoting the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector. ICCC led over a hundred small businesses to help them forge links with the Indian stakeholders. The small sector continues to be a major source of employment for new immigrants in Canada and there should be more incentive for the sector so it can be promoted to support the Canadian economy. He also advised the Minister to have a ‘Year of Canada in India’ with more business accent.
Participants at the roundtable made a series of recommendations some of which included the following.
- SMEs are major source of employment generation so more incentives for the sector especially whose turnover is less than $ 1 million.
- Direct non-stop Air Canada flight to any Indian city for smooth flow of people.
- Amortization period should be increased from 25 years to 30-35 years as the new home buyers have restricted funding and resources.
- Reforms in tax sector to get more investment from India.
- Emphasis on skilled worker program in the education sector to help Canada as there is going to be a great shortage in the future.
- Special funds for research and development in SMEs to make them export readiness.