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Canadian investors are showing real confidence in India

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In 2017, Canada celebrates an important national milestone – 150 years of the Confederation. Jordan Reeves, consul general of Canada in Mumbai speaks about India-Canada trade ties and how the newly launched Air Canada first direct flight between Mumbai and Toronto means more tourist numbers for both the countries

Canada celebrates 150 years of founding this year. How has the journey been and what does this mean for

This was a special birthday as Canada celebrated 150 years of its founding. It has been special for a couple of reasons because we are celebrating Canada’s diversity – it has always been a country of immigrants. More than half of our population have been born outside of Canada. We are a rich multicultural country. Diversity is our strength. As being consul general in Mumbai, here in this city is special because Indians have played an important role in Canada’s development. Our largest ethnic communities are the Punjabi and Gujarati migrants. Nearly 1.3 million of our residents come from Indian ethnic origins. They are a very creative and vibrant community in Canada.

In the past year nearly four cabinet ministers from Canada visited India and three were of Indian origin – Minister Charger, Minister Sohi and Minister Sajjan.

In the last few years tourist arrivals have shown double digit growth. Young Indians are going to Canadian colleges and universities. Around 48,000 Indian students went to Canada in 2015 – a 70 per cent increase and this year we expect a 100 per cent increase.

What about India-Canada trade ties?

Canada is open to trade and believes in the virtues of free trade. We are happy to see that there has been a thirty per cent increase in trade exports. Canadian investors are showing real confidence in India. In private equity, Canada’s leading investors are showing strong bullishness on India.

This year Canada enjoyed the limelight. We participated in many events. We were the partner country at FICCI Frames held in March in Mumbai which showcased Canada. We are also attending the International Film Festival (IFF) in Goa this November. Then there is the Audio Visual Co-production Agreement between India and Canada. We want to promote this agreement, we would love to see more co-production of films between the two countries.

Nearly 400 Canadian companies are doing business with India, both  big companies to small. The numbers have gone up by 20 or 30 at least. We support PM Modi’s Make in India vision. Canadian company, Bombardier has a facility in Vadodara. McCain Foods, another Canadian company, has been in India for many years now. It supports nearly 1,500 farmer families on contract farming. Canadian insurance company Sun Life is also in India.

What are your insights on India’s new tax regime?

Canada is familiar with GST. We are unanimous that GST is a welcome reform. We see a lot of advantages in it. It can help businesses become more efficient and streamline processes.

Air Canada’s new direct flight from Mumbai to Toronto can drive tourist numbers. Comments.

We are really happy about the direct Air Canada Mumbai Toronto flight, four times a week. There is demand and  a lot of enthusiasm. This is an opportunity to promote travel packages to Canada and we are positioned to further increase the tourist numbers, especially VFR and business travellers.

Any more trade missions to India in the coming months?

In November there will be an innovation focused trade mission to India. India is the home of startups and Canada too has a vibrant startup community. Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada. Toronto-based Ryerson University has already set up Zone Start-Ups in Mumbai, an accelerator for entrepreneurs jointly with the BSE (earlier known as the Bombay Stock Exchange). We also have the Empower programme for women entrepreneurs.