Canada government has requested India to press ‘pause’ on trade talks between the two nation as as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to travel to India for the G20 Summit in national capital Delhi.
According to a Bloomberg report, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government first pressed pause and requested India to follow suit last month.
Canadian Press had first reported the request to ‘pause’ trade talks between India and Canada.
“The Canadian side has suggested a ‘pause’ to the ongoing fast-paced negotiations on an early-progress trade agreement with India,” India’s high commissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. “Though I am not aware of exact reason(s), most likely, the ‘pause’ will allow more consultations with the stakeholders.”
A government official also told Bloomberg, that trade negotiations are long, complex processes and Canada has paused to take stock of the situation, a government official told reporters on a briefing about Trudeau’s upcoming trip to India.
However, there has been no official confirmation from Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng.
In May 2023, Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had visited Ottawa, and India and Canada sides appeared optimistic. Ng had said they were getting closer to signing the early-progress agreement, an initial deal that would focus on a few industries rather than an economy-wide accord.
Canada has had intermittent trade negotiations with India stretching back a decade, but in recent years Trudeau’s government has ramped up its efforts to diversify its economy away from China. A trade deal with India is part of that broader Indo-Pacific strategy.
Trudeau’s country is home to a vast Indian diaspora, including the largest Sikh population outside of India, and there have been calls for his government to make a trade deal contingent on India respecting the human rights of religious minorities.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is chairing the G-20 this year and several of Trudeau’s ministers have already gathered with their counterparts in India throughout the summer.
Trudeau is set to travel to New Delhi for the leaders’ summit next weekend, though it’s not yet clear whether he will meet one-on-one with PM Modi.