Canadian International Council

Canadian International Council

November 24, 2010 10:35 ET

Canada Must Capitalize on Negotiations With India, or it Will Miss the Boat

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 24, 2010) - India is one of the world's most promising markets, and the country is a priority both for the Government of Canada and for many of the provinces. Yet, the potential for Canadian business has never been fully realized, either in terms of trade or foreign direct investment. Canadian business and government have been slow to embrace the Indian market and need to wake up before it is too late, concludes a new study released today by the Canadian International Council (CIC).

Doing Business in India: Success, Failure and the Prospects for Canada examines Canadian companies that do business in India, with a focus on why Canadian companies chose India, what they see as its opportunities and challenges, how Indian business culture differs from business culture elsewhere, what the security problems are, what Canadian business would like government to do to help, what lessons are to be learned, and what business can expect to encounter in the subcontinent.

"Less than a generation ago, India, China and other large emerging economies needed Canada and other developed western powers. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. Canada needs India and China. The world has shifted and Canada is very late to the party. The opportunities and the future are there, but business and government need to wake up before it is too late. Still, there is hope, particularly now that negotiations towards a comprehensive economic partnership agreement have begun," states Douglas Goold, author of the paper.

Key recommendations for government include: active and ongoing engagement by the Prime Minister with the Canadian and Indian business communities; fostering better political relations; clarifying the future of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.; and strengthening the Canada brand in India. Recommendations for business include: assessing the Indian market in a tough-minded way; making a long-term commitment; focusing on the states in India with the best business opportunities; and weighing trade missions with a critical eye.

Dr. Douglas Goold is a CIC Senior Fellow and Director, National Conversation on Asia and Senior Editor of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. For more information on Doing Business in India: Success, Failure and the Prospects for Canada or the CIC, please visit: www.onlinecic.org.

ENDORSEMENTS:

"Douglas Goold has produced the most comprehensive and informed analysis of the realities, the challenges and the promise of improved economic relations between Canada and India. It comes at a time when, thanks to Canada's activist India strategy, there is real progress in the discussions which could lead to a Canada/India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. The recommendations, for business and Government, deserve particular attention. Goold's report is a must-read for all Canadians—and Indians—who consider that our bilateral relationship should be broader and more ambitious."

Joseph Caron, Strategic Advisor for Asia Pacific, Heenan Blaikie LLP, and former High Commissioner to India

"This study will have a large audience and stand for a long time as the best researched and best written overview of the Canada-India business picture. It will serve as a catalyst and call for concrete action at the policy and commercial levels."

Paul Evans, Director, Institute of Asia Research, University of British Columbia

The Canadian International Council (CIC) is an independent, member-based council established to strengthen Canada's role in international affairs. The CIC reflects the ideas and interests of a broad constituency of Canadians who believe that a country's foreign policy is not an esoteric concern of experts but directly affects the lives and prosperity of its citizens. The CIC uses its deep historical roots, its cross-country network and its active research program to advance debate on international issues across academic disciplines, policy areas and economic sectors. The CIC's research program is managed by the national office in Toronto. Its 15 branches across Canada offer CIC members speakers' programs, study groups, conferences and seminars.

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