New Delhi, Feb.25 : Canada's Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Peter MacKay, concluded on the weekend a successful five-day Atlantic Canada business mission to New Delhi and Mumbai.
The mission focussed on expanding trade and business opportunities between Canada and India, via the Atlantic Gateway.
The delegation included 17 Atlantic Canadian business leaders representing the transportation sector, and Ministers representing the four Atlantic provinces.
"There is a great deal of interest in the Atlantic Gateway on the part of the Indian business community," said Minister MacKay.
"Indian businesses are focused on getting their goods to North America as quickly and efficiently as possible. This mission forged important links which will build on the 3.6 billion dollars in trade between our two countries, including 1.7 billion dollars in imports to Canada," Minister MacKay said. He added that a trade mission from India to Atlantic Canada is being planned for mid- to late 2008.
Delegates met with Indian business leaders to outline the significant advantages of shipping goods from India to North America through Canada's Atlantic Gateway.
To this end, MacKay hosted two forum discussions with senior decision makers from various Indian manufacturing companies, shipping lines and freight forwarders co-hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He also met with Indian business leaders, including Capt. Rustom Dastoor, CEO of the DP World Nhava Sheva Terminal; Mr. Shashi Ruia, Chairman of the Essar Group, the new owner of Canada's Algoma Steel; and Mr. S. Shahzad Hussain, Chairman of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust.
MacKay also held discussions with government representatives in India, including Commerce MInister Kamal Nath, and Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra State Minister of Industries.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) signed a Letter of Intent during the mission to explore ways of expanding trade between the two countries.
"This agreement will provide an important mechanism for increasing trade between Canada and India," said MacKay.
Denis Landry, Minister of Transportation for New Brunswick, Ron W. MacKinley, Minister of Transportation and Public Works for Prince Edward Island, Angus MacIsaac, Deputy Premier, Minister of Economic Development, and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Gateway in Nova Scotia, and Paul Oram, Minister of Business for Newfoundland and Labrador, also participated in the mission.