India and Canada today launched formal negotiations for the ambitious Comprehensive Economic and Cooperation Agreement (CECA), which would boost bilateral trade in goods, services and investment between the two nations.
The two countries have set a target for achieving $15-billion worth bilateral trade over the next five years from $4.2 billion at present. The next round of talks is to be held in early 2011.
"The gains projected in the report were between $6 billion and $12 billion for India and between $6 billion and $15 billion for Canada. So, it would be averaged at $10 billion when Ceca is concluded," commerce minister Anand Sharma said after a meeting with Canada's minister for international trade, Peter Van Loan in New Delhi today.
A joint study group with members from both countries had been formed to explore opportunities for economic linkages between the two countries. The study was initiated during a meeting between prime minister Manmohan Singh and his Canadian counterpart, Stephen Harper, in November last year.
''An economic partnership agreement between Canada and India would be of enormous economic benefit to both our countries,'' Loan, told Hindustan Times.
The two countries signed a civilian nuclear deal last year on the sides of the G20 deal, that ended Canada's strong stance against Indian's 1974 and 1998 nuclear tests.
According to Loan provinces and territories of Canada are supportive of negotiations towards a closer economic partnership with India.