Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
On June 22, 2020, a virtual bilateral meeting was held between the chief negotiators of both sides. Subsequently, a bilateral meeting was held on 27 October 2020 to discuss the possibility of an early harvest agreement/intermediate agreement. In this regard, the scoping document was shared with the Canadian side, and a DVC was organized on November 19, 2020 and both parties are committed to moving it forward. In parliamentary elections in both countries, the pens were lowered. In India, the new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has suspended all bilateral trade negotiations by reviewing the country`s trade policy and bringing “some frustration to Canadians,” says Vivek Dehejia, an associate economics professor at Carleton University and a fellow at the Mumbai-based think tank IDFC Institute, who spoke with people on both sides. Canada is not the only player in a long negotiation process with India. Australia, New Zealand and the EU have started all trade negotiations before or at the same time, and none have yet entered into contracts. But reaching that potential could be difficult if there is no legislative aid. Singh sees a cyclical argument at work. “We are not improving trade because we don`t have a bilateral free trade agreement,” she says, while seeking evidence of the success of such a treaty. Canada and India have concluded their ninth round of negotiations under a comprehensive free trade agreement between Canada and India. Negotiations have focused on a wide range of issues related to goods and services and, since they were completed, both sides have committed to moving the discussions forward towards a final agreement. Some of the challenges are technical.
With respect to services, Canada uses a negative list, which means that all services that are not included or developed in the future are affected by the liberalization measures of the agreement. India supports the World Trade Organization agreement that only the sectors covered by the treaty are subject to the revised rules. And Fast points out that India`s proposal for investment agreements does not contain a “click” clause stipulating that after the liberalization of a sector, investment restrictions cannot be reintroduced. Kasi Rao, President and CEO of the Canada-India Business Council (C-IBC), says the interest in his visit to Indian companies is encouraging optimism, and he is open to the economic outlook for the relationship, despite the weak base so far. “The modesty of the numbers reflects the past, not the promise of the future,” he says.