Addressing close to 250 participants of the Indo-Canadian business corridor, Hon’ble Rajya Sabha member, India's Sherpa for G20 & G7 nations and former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu, revealed that the Government of India was working on an “aggressive strategy to attract FDI into India” in the Covid-19 aftermath. Shri Prabhu made the comments at the fifth Indo-Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC) hosted Webinar themed Fostering Trade Relations Post COVID-19, on Thursday. He was accompanied as lead speaker by Mr. Victor Fedeli, Hon’ble Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (Ontario, Canada).
Other key attendees of the webinar included Shri Ajay Bisaria, India’s High Commissioner to Canada; Victor T.Thomas, the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canada-India Business Council (C-IBC) in Toronto; Ms. Kashmira Mewawala, Head - Business Development and Chief Ethics Counsellor - TATA CAPITAL; Mr. Jaimin Shah, CEO & MD of Dev Information Technology Limited; Mr. Sandeep Asthana, Country Head of Sunlife Capital and Mr. Rakesh Aerath, Senior Vice-President and Business Unit Leader – Asia Pacific Financial Services Delivery Centre of CGI, among others. Ms. Nadira Hamid, CEO of ICBC, moderated the hour-long discussion.
Shri Prabhu also recognized the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it would bring to global business and trade practises, while outlining eight key areas of enhanced cooperation between India and Canada going forward. He specifically listed out High-Tech, Financial Services, Capital Investment, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Environment, Logistics and Trade Promotion as those that would see a major uptick between the two countries.
Minister Fedeli, while sharing various measures adopted both by the Canadian Federal Government and the Provincial Government of Ontario to protect jobs and livelihood, also hinted at a virtual platform to further foster trade between the two economies.
Responding to a question Minister Fedeli said, “We might have to do virtual trade shows as we rely so much on imports from Indian manufacturers. We are looking aggressively at a B2B bridge”.
Addressing Jaimin Shah’s question on steps taken by Canada to help Non-IT businesses adopt IT in the COVID-19 aftermath, the Minister said, “Ontario is the number two IT cluster in the whole of North America, after the Silicon Valley. I live in a town of 4,800 people and am able to communicate flawlessly with just three devices because of this robust system. So yes, there will be lots of changes in both IT and Non-IT sector. For the purpose we have the Ontario Together fund of Canadian $50mn available for companies.”
On questions from Mr. Aerath and Mr. Shah on support and relief measures for businesses and SMEs in India, Shri Prabhu said, “The Prime Minister has constituted a task force headed by the Finance Minister which is looking specifically into this and I am sure it will be communicated to the right people soon.”
The Webinar was also attended by key ICBC member representatives like Mr. Arun Pandeya, Country Head & GM – India Sub-continent of Air Canada, Kapil Malhotra and Ravikant Tiwari from the Ontario Office in India, Canadian Wood, as well as Government officials of Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick Provinces of Canada.