Ashok Dasgupta

High power business mission to visit in January

  • Seeks investment from Indian companies
  • Two-way trade to be strengthened

    TORONTO: With India keeping pace with China in clocking the highest growth rates during the last three years globally and among the emerging market economies, Ontario, the manufacturing hub and the most diverse province of Canada, is set to launch an aggressive strategy to tap the huge two-way trade and business potential that exists in diverse sectors such as transportation and infrastructure development, automotives, ICT and financial services.

    Ahead of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's high-power business mission to India in Janauary next year, the Economic Development and Trade Minister of the Province, Sandra Pupatello, on Monday told a group of visiting newspersons that the India visit would be a part of Ontario's "aggressive strategy to reach out and help more companies break into key global markets'' such as India.

    Apart from Ms. Pupatello, accompanying the Ontario Premier on his mission would be the Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Minister, Harinder Takhar, and Member of Ontario's Parliament Kuldip Kular both Canadians of Indian origin as also delegates representing various companies and business interests along with representatives from the University of Toronto.

    Home to half a million people from South Asia, particularly India, Ms. Pupatello said Ontario's expertise products and services were a natural fit with the needs of India's "powerhouse economy.'' "We will look for ways to work together to leverage our common strengths and boost the level of two-way trade between us.''

    In particular, the prime objective of the McGuinty mission would be to encourage more investment in Ontario from Indian companies and institutions as the province had a lot to offer to strengthen the two-way trading relationship. Drawing a geographical parallel between India and Canada, Ms. Pupatello said that although Canada's 33-million population was dwarfed by India's one billion, the people here are spread across ten provinces and three northern territories, spanning 5,000 km from coast to coast. To be competitive globally, Canada had to develop a strong infrastructure to connect and support the people and their businesses.

    This, she said, was a point of interest for India a nation also dependent on solid, modern transportation and other infrastructure to connect people and grow businesses. In fact, the infrastructure alone, India is estimated to need $170 billion in the next five years. "That is great news for Ontario companies structural engineers, construction companies, architects and infrastructure consultants [who are] ready and able to help India modernise its economy,'' she said.

    The situation is similar in the manufacturing sector. For instance, Ontario is the leading auto producer in North America and, therefore, well positioned to help India's automotive and advanced manufacturing sectors modernise and grow, she said. Some of the other pathways that could be carved with India, she said, were the financial services sector, ICT as also biotechnology and life sciences. While India had a strong ICT industry, Toronto, she pointed out, was the third largest ICT hub in North America. Likewise, while India had a strong, growing biotechnology sector, Ontario was the hotspot for life sciences. "When we consider these two sectors alone, I is exciting to think of what could come from combined efforts in these areas,'' Ms. Pupatello said.