Canada’s trade with India is growing in real terms but sliding in market share, says India’s commerce secretary. “While trade between the two countries has grown between 15 and 20 per cent a year, India’s trade with the rest of the world is growing at 40 to 50 per cent,” Rahul Khullar told delegates to a week-long engineering show at the Direct Energy Centre on Monday.
“That’s what our prime ministers are concerned about — the share has to be preserved,” he said.
Two developments would help, Khullar said.
One is the signing of a free trade deal, formally called a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, initiated one year ago. Its aim is to triple bilateral trade.
The other development would be greater engagement by small and medium enterprises — the main theme of the trade fair, the India Show, at the exhibition grounds.
“How we get from $5 billion to $15 billion (in bilateral trade) is going to be achieved through big deals from large companies, but most important through companies at the small and medium level,” said Canada-India Business Council director Rana Sarkar.
Most of the show’s 154 Indian exhibitors are small- and medium-size engineering firms, all signaling an eagerness to do business with Canada, said Toronto entrepreneur and emcee Hari Venkatacharya.
The hope is that Canadian firms reciprocate by exhibiting at the India Engineering Sourcing Show scheduled for Mumbai in March, he said. So far 50 Canadian firms are committed. “We would like to see 100,” he said.