Toronto– India and Canada are likely to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) soon.

Although the two countries have held multiple rounds of talks for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) since 2010, the prospects brightened when Union Minister Piyush Goyal visited Canada in May to review the progress of negotiations. 

Speaking at receptions hosted for him by the Canada-India Foundation (CIF) and the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce here today, India’s new Consul General Siddhartha Nath said: “We had a very fruitful visit by our commerce and industry minister a few months ago. Negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries are at an advanced stage. Hopefully we will hear the good news in the coming months.

“Lots of exciting things are happening between the two countries — trade, Indian students, people-to-people contacts, cultural exchanges”.

He also lauded the Indo-Canadian community for its contribution to the bilateral relationship. 

Welcoming the new Consul General, Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce president Murarilal Thapliyal said his organisation is launching a huge liaison initiative to connect policymakers at municipal, provincial and federal levels in the countries. 

“The Indo-Canada Chamber will sign city-to-city MoUs to promote trade and cultural exchanges between India and Canada. This year, Brampton will sign an MoU with Mumbai,” he said.

Extending full support to the Indian Consul General, Canada India Foundation chairman Satish Thakkar said: “The collective strength of the CIF membership will be deployed to take the Canada-India relationship to even newer heights.

“We are happy to be of service and support you in all your initiatives to build a strong Canada-India relationship.”

Welcoming the likely breakthrough in trade talks, Thakkar said: “This is encouraging, especially at a time when certain national and international challenges crop up just when things are going well. But I am glad to see that the momentum continues and both our democracies continue to work closely together.”

India is Canada’s ninth largest trading partner. When the deal is signed, Canada will become the third major country after Australia and the UAE to sign a free trade accord with India recently. (IANS)