New Deal with New Delhi? Free Trade Agreement with India Could Happen in the Future


Striking a free trade agreement with India remains a high priority for the Canadian government. While talks have not yet commenced, pressure is mounting at the capital since speculations of a deal have been years in the making. In fact, promises of a future partnership go as far back as 2012 from a speech by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Despite increases in trade between the two nations, Federal Liberal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi has expressed dissatisfaction. He states that, “Our trade with India is not as high as we would like to see.”

Between 2015 and 2016, trade between Canada and India grew a whopping 30 per cent. Then, it is reported that over 1,000 companies do business with India, making the mutual economic impact hard to ignore. Canada currently has its stake in the South Asian market with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in which India is notably absent. Therefore, a deal between the two countries would open up a new market for exporting Canadian-made product. In addition, further opportunities lie in the: food, agriculture, energy, education, skills development, infrastructure and aerospace industries. In the apparel sector, the demand for Indian-produced textiles has seen a rapid increase. Through a partnership with TFO Canada, India will be a major player at the Apparel Textile Sourcing Show Canada (ATSC)  this August. An FTA will be able to expand this demand for Indian exports in multiple industries.

The Canadian government faces increasing pressure to draft the blueprints of a trade agreement. Despite the pressure, government action has still been somewhat gradual at best. The many positive arguments for the deal also bring light to details that will take some negotiation on policy. No doubt, access for Indian workers, visitors to Canada has been a large issue. Even though efforts stalled in the previous administration, the new one shows more promise. Ultimately, President Justin Trudeau has cited that, “investment in emerging markets, with particular attention to China and India is a goal.”

Christine Duff

Author: Christine Duff

Storytelling is my passion in life, whether through words across a page, a styled outfit that speaks volumes, or directing a photoshoot that expresses it visually. I live my life driven by my love of people, art, and the pursuit of happiness.