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In a meeting with Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty, Canada’s foreign minister John Baird and Canada’s Central Bank governor Mark Carney, Mr Chidambaram said India and Canada should tap potential for cooperation in areas such as trade, economy and investment to benefit the two countries and their peoples.
Inviting Canadian investment in infrastructure, food processing, mining and retail sector, Chidambaram said: “India welcomes foreign investors and the government has taken a number of steps to protect foreign direct investment and portfolio investment.”
Canadian direct investment in India is only about half a billion dollars, about one-10th of India’s direct investment in Canada.
Both sides have agreed to expand trade and economic cooperation and stressed the need to accelerate early conclusion of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA), official sources said on Tuesday.
However, the finance minister has also made it clear that any bilateral investment protection agreement has to be subject to jurisdiction of domestic legal institutions and India will not allow it to be subjected to foreign courts or tribunals.
“We cannot allow highest court of the land to be subjected to any foreign courts or tribunals,” he said.
During prime minister Stephen Harper’s visit to India in November 2012, both countries committed to increase annual bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2015.
The Indian finance minister asked Canada to participate in India’s infrastructure projects like the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor which would span across six states and extend across over 100 kms, needing an investment of $90 billion.
It offers potential opportunities for Canadian engineering firms which already have expertise working on such projects at home.
Mr Chidambaram left Ottawa for Boston on Tuesday, following his original schedule despite the bomb attacks that killed three and injured over 170 people at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Earlier this month India and Canada signed an Appropriate Arrangement Agreement (AAA) that will allow Canada to ship uranium to India.
Canada is home to the second most significant uranium mining industry in the world after Kazakhstan.
With inputs from Agencies