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The Finance Minister of India, Hon'ble Arun Jaitley, paid an official visit to Canada

High Commission of India

Press Release

The Finance Minister of India, Hon'ble Arun Jaitley, paid an official visit to Canada from 2-4 October, 2016. Members of his delegation included Secretary (Economic Affairs) Mr. Shaktikanta Das and High Commissioner of India, Vishnu Prakash. FM held wide ranging consultations with Canadian political and business leaders, financial institutions and academia. On 2nd October, he spoke about India's economic reforms at the Rotman School of Management of University of Toronto which was attended by over 400 Post Graduate students, faculty members, business representatives and members of Indo-Canadian community.

2. On 3rd October, he met with his counterpart, Finance Minister Bill Morneau. Both Ministers reviewed bilateral, commercial and economic ties, steps to speed up investments in both directions and early conclusion of Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) or FIPA. They exchanged views on the global economic situation and agreed to keep in regular contact. FM invited Mr. Morneau to visit India. The invitation was accepted with great pleasure.

3. FM also had fruitful meeting with Minister of International Trade, Chrystia Freeland, to take stock of ongoing discussions on BIT. It was agreed that early conclusion of BIT would spur investments in both directions. The Ministers directed the negotiators to hold the next round of discussions at an early date and to try to conclude the Agreement expeditiously.

4. A round-table interaction with leading pension funds and financial institutions was hosted by Mark Machin, President and CEO of CPPIB, for the Finance Minister and his delegation which was also attended by Mr. Sujoy Bose, the CEO-designate of the newly established National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF). The participants expressed their appreciation for the steps taken by Government of India to further improve the business and investment climate as well as their expectation that momentum of reforms would be maintained. It was mentioned that in the preceding 24 months, Canadian pension funds, financial institutions and other companies had invested around CAD 12 billion in a variety of segments.

5. On 4th October, Finance Minister Jaitley attended another round-table meeting, hosted by the High Commission of India and ICICI Bank with CEOs representing sectors like energy (including renewable), aviation, railways, IT, real estate, automobiles and components, etc. He apprised them about the financial, regulatory and taxation changes made and being made in India to further enhance the ease of doing business. He noted that in the last 24 months, India had jumped 32 points to figure at the 39th spot among 138 countries in Global Competitive Index. Healthy competition was unleashed among Indian States to expand the manufacturing base, imbibe technology and attract investments.

6. FM also had one-on-one meetings with a number of captains of trade and industry including Chairman/CEO of Weston Group, Fairfax Financial, Brookfield Asset Management and Sun Life Financial. CEO Bruce Flatt of Brookfield spoke about his "fantastic experience" in India as they made successful forays in real estate, highways, renewable energy and other segments. Chairman Prem Watsa of Fairfax Financial apprised FM about investment of over USD 1 billion in India in the preceding 12 months in a number of sectors.

7. India and Canada are strategic partners with complementary economies. Bilateral trade increased over 29% last year to cross $ 8 billion mark. Both sides are confident that with the initiatives under active consideration, bilateral ties will continue to show even greater buoyancy.

HCI, Ottawa
4th October, 2016

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