Ontario premier on India visit to boost trade

New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) Premier Kathleen Wynne of Canada’s Ontario arrived on Sunday on a six-day visit leading a 100-member business delegation in a bid boost the province’s trade relations with India, the Canada-India Business Council (C-IBC) said in a statement here.

“Wynne’s delegation will visit four cities — New Delhi, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Mumbai — and will formalize agreements and memorandums of understanding within the research, infrastructure, technology, science, health and education sectors,” the statement said.

“Wynne will also meet with political and cultural leaders to build new relationships, strengthen existing ones and examine areas for future cooperation,” it added.

Ahead of her visit, Wynne, in provincial capital Toronto, noted that she “really believes that 2016 can be a huge year for Ontario and India because of what is going on in India and the plan that Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has put in place, the smart cities, the clean tech that is going be needed, and because of our potential here to provide capacity in all of those areas”.

With 700,000 Ontarians being of Indian descent, ties between the province and India are already strong,” former C-IBC president Kam Rathee, who is India-born, told reporters here.

“India is an important trade partner for Ontario. In 2014, total goods trade between Ontario and India was valued at almost $2 billion,” he said.

Bilateral ties, that had become dormant, got a big boost with Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Canada last year, he added.

In December last year, the first consignment of Canadian uranium was delivered in Mumbai marking the first commercial outcome the Canada-India Nuclear Co-operation Agreement that came into force in September 2013.

The India-Canada bilateral trade last year in goods amounted to over $6 billion, while that in services was worth $1.6 billion.

The Ontario premier began her India tour with a visit on Sunday to the Golden Temple at Amritsar. A substantial part of the Indian-origin population of the province is Sikh.

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