Canada Pauses Trade Talks with India, Evaluates Complexities Amid Ongoing Negotiations

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Canada’s International Trade Minister has disclosed that after announcing a halt in trade talks with India about a week ago, Ottawa is currently “taking stock” of the situation. Minister Mary Ng conveyed the complexities that come with trade agreements, stating that the pause allows them an opportunity to evaluate their position in the ongoing negotiations.

This revelation arrives shortly after India’s envoy to Canada made public that officials from Ottawa had requested for a temporary cessation of talks within the preceding month. In clarification, Indian High Commissioner Sanjay Kumar Verma disclosed that the Canadian party suggested embracing a pause, before resuming the process.

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The specific reasons behind the stagnation in trade discussions remain undivulged by the government, and as to what initially instigated this detachment remains largely unknown.

Regardless of the pause’s premise, Goldy Hyder, the Chief Executive Officer of the Canada Business Council, voiced the need for Canada to rejoin the negotiations. He commented while attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Indonesia, underscoring the imperative for both parties to recommence talks as businesses possess alternatives to India.

Initial prospects for a comprehensive trade agreement between Canada and India emerged in 2010, though abandoned by 2017. The focus since 2022 is on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, considering specific industries.

Hyder viewed this pause as a moment for the government to scrutinize the substance of a potential agreement, identify areas of common ground and areas where Canada might be overextending its reach. He likened the situation to the early stages of dating, claiming the priority is to discern the rules of this ‘dating’ phase. If this cannot be accomplished, he argued it paints a rather unsettling image of both parties.