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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Canadian PM to focus on energy, CEPA

Anirudh Bhattacharyya, Hindustan Times  Toronto, November 02, 2012
First Published: 21:40 IST(2/11/2012) | Last Updated: 21:43 IST(2/11/2012)

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will arrive in Agra on Sunday for the first leg of an unusually lengthy six-day visit that will also take him to New Delhi, Chandigarh and Bangalore.

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The focus of his visit is to energise trade relations between the two countries.

"There's a lot to do, a lot to see, a lot to be accomplished," said his spokesman Andrew MacDougall.

Among the major items on his agenda as he meets Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday, will be discussions on speeding up the process of negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa), a free trade deal between the two nations; and energy exports from Canada to India and Indian investment in that sector.

In addition, there's the likelihood the two countries will sign a social security agreement.

Cepa certainly is a prominent issue since Canada would like to see it signed next year, in an effort to boost trade between the two countries to $15 billion by 2015.

Naval Bajaj, president of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, said: "Both countries are interested in moving ahead in their bilateral relationship. Canada is very keen to sign the agreement in the first half of 2013."

Concerns have been raised over the delayed attempt by the Chinese state enterprise CNOOC to purchase the Canadian oilsands company Nexen, but officials say that should not worry potential Indian investors like ONGC.

Canada is also positioning itself as a "stable supplier" of these resources to India.


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