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Canada looking forward to Manmohan Singh's visit

Canada is exploring the possibility of a free trade agreement with India, the new Canadian PM Stephen Harper said.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2006 14:19 IST

Canada is looking forward to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit this year and exploring the possibility of a free trade agreement with India, the new Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said.

Expressing Canada's commitment to strengthen ties with India, Harper said the two countries need to work harder to realise the full potential of the bilateral relationship.

"As Canada looks ahead to the anticipated visit of the Indian Prime Minister later this year, two-way commerce continues to intensify and expand to new areas. Indeed, we are working towards a true partnership," Harper said in a message read out on Monday by Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Makay.

Observing that bilateral trade has reached record levels, Harper said, "there was a 25 per cent increase in Canadian exports to India in 2005. But we have much more work to do to bring the Canada-India relationship to its full potential."

"Canada is also exploring the possibility of a free trade agreement with India," he added.

Foreign Minister Makay in his message said Canada remains committed to strengthening the relationship between the two countries.

"India and Canada have much to offer to one another. Over the decades, we have built on our shared values of democracy, rule of law and commitment to the Commonwealth, and created a strong partnership.

"And India's expanding role as a global player means the time is ripe for Canadian Businesses and investors, from a range of sectors, to become even more active in this immense market," David Emerson, Canadian Trade Minister, said.