Canadian Parliament is all set to ratify in February the civil nuclear deal with India, giving a fresh boost to bilateral cooperation even as the two countries are expected to seal a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in the next six months.

Canadian High Commissioner Stewart G. Beck said the Nuclear Power Agreement (NCA) signed with India in June last year ending a 36-year-old freeze in civil nuclear cooperation is likely to be ratified by parliament in his country next month.

“It will also have to be ratified by Indian Parliament,” he told PTI, adding, ratification of the agreement and negotiating its administrative arrangements were necessary before the accord can be implemented.

“Once in place, the agreement will allow India access to Canadian nuclear technology, equipment and fuel,” the envoy said.

The agreement, signed in the presence of Prime Minster Manmohan Singh and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit last year, was considered a landmark step in bilateral cooperation in view of Canada’s strong attitude in the past when it slapped sanctions against India after the Pokhran I and II tests in 1974 and 1998.

Canada was also hopeful of sealing the crucial a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in the next six months, the High Commissioner said, adding his country has identified India as a priority country for strategic engagement.

“A Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is an FTA from our perspective. It is aimed at promoting market opening policies and stands to become one of the most important building blocks in constructing a broader, deeper bilateral relationship,” Mr. Beck said.

Pointing out that there remains much untapped potential, he said both the countries have a trillion-dollar-economy; yet bilateral trade is to the tune of four billion dollars per year.

He said both Harper and Singh are determined to change this and have committed to raise bilateral trade to 15 billion dollars within five years.

The High Commissioner said Canada is particularly well placed to collaborate with India in knowledge-based industries. “This is largely due to the tremendous investments Canada has made to support the country’s research and investment infrastructure,” he said.

He said Canada aims to build a more robust bilateral partnership with India based on mutual political, academic and commercial priorities.

Beck was in the city to deliver a key note address at an international conference organised by the Centre for Canadian studies, Department of Economics, Maharaja Sayajirao University and Federation of Gujarat Industries.

The NCA will enable India to import Canadian atomic equipment and technology and secure uranium by providing the Canadian nuclear industry access to the expanding multi-billion dollar Indian nuclear market.

The Nuclear Suppliers’ Group, a cartel which trades in nuclear fuel, equipment and technology, lifted a 34-year ban on India in 2008. The U.S., France and Russia are among the countries with which India has civil nuclear pacts.

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