Minister Champagne wraps up first visit to Middle East and India to advance economic partnerships

News Release

March 5, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, today concluded a five-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Qatar and India with a clear message: Let's be ambitious. During this trip, Minister Champagne engaged with key ministers and senior government officials from each country to strengthen bilateral ties and to advance Canadian trade and investment, which supports increased jobs and growth for Canada’s middle class. He met with representatives from more than 75 Canadian and international businesses of all sizes operating in the region in areas such as agri-food, aerospace, infrastructure, education and financial services. Overall, Minister Champagne met with representatives of investment funds managing more than $2 trillion.

In Dubai, U.A.E., the Minister met with His Excellency (H.E.) Mohammad Al Gergawi, U.A.E. Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, and H.E. Shamma Al Mazrui, U.A.E. Minister of State for Youth Affairs, to discuss, among other subjects, how the youth councils in both countries can cooperate. In addition, Minister Champagne met with H.E. Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of DP World, and senior leadership from DP World and the Investment Corporation of Dubai to promote Canada as a strategic destination for investment and expansion.

In Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., Minister Champagne met with His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, U.A.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; H.E. Sultan Al Mansouri, U.A.E. Minister of Economy; H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei, U.A.E. Minister of Energy. Minister Champagne also met with members of the Canada-U.A.E. Business Council.

Highlights of the Minister’s trip to the U.A.E. included a tour of the Canada Pavilion at 2017 Gulfood trade show, hosting a round-table discussion with several of the Canadian agriculture and agri-food exporters exhibiting at the show, and meeting Alia Al Mansoori, a 14-year-old Emirati girl who won the Genes in Space science competition.

During his visit to Doha, Qatar, the Minister met with representatives from key ministries and companies to discuss projects and commercial and investment opportunities of interest to both Canada and Qatar, and highlighted Canada’s strong and growing ties to Qatar’s education sector. Minister Champagne met with H.E. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Jassim Bin Mohamed Al Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce of Qatar; H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar; and Tamim Hamad Al-Kawari, CEO of QInvest, a large investment bank. He also held a round table with representatives of Canadian companies to discuss business opportunities and challenges in Qatar.

In New Delhi, India, Minister Champagne met with Arun Jaitley, India’s Minister of Finance, and his counterpart, Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industry. The ministers had discussions regarding the Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, in view of increasing bilateral trade and investment. They also made significant progress toward concluding negotiations on a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement that would serve to promote both India and Canada as destinations for investment. Ahead of Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay's visit to India this week, Minister Champagne stressed a resolution at the earliest opportunity that would provide the way forward for continued access for Canadian pulse crops into India. He also raised constructive suggestions for improving India's ‎fertilizer subsidies to ensure potash is applied in appropriate quantities. He coordinated Canada’s approach with Alberta’s Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier, who was visiting. Minister Champagne met with Indian business executives to discuss investment opportunities in Canada. He also took part in a round-table discussion with Canadian business executives active in India to celebrate their successes in the Indian market and highlight the Canadian government’s efforts to strengthen them and efforts to strengthen trade and investment opportunities with India.

Quotes

“My visit to the U.A.E., Qatar and India offered me an opportunity to see first-hand that Canadian businesses are achieving real success in those countries, which translates into more opportunities and jobs at home. Canadian companies are committed to sharing their knowledge and expertise to promote strong global economic growth that is inclusive, clean and more sustainable. I look forward to deepening Canada’s trade and investment ties to help our businesses succeed and bring more jobs and growth for our middle class.”

- François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade

Quick Facts

  • The U.A.E. is Canada’s largest export market in the Middle East and North Africa, and is Canada’s 16th-largest export market globally. Canadian merchandise exports reached $1.8 billion in 2016.

  • An estimated 40,000 Canadians live and work in the U.A.E., making it one of the largest Western expatriate communities in the country. It is also home to over 150 Canadian companies, which use the U.A.E. as a regional hub for business.

  • There are roughly 9,000 Canadians living in Qatar working in all sectors of the Qatari economy, including energy, education and health.

  • The U.A.E. and Qatar are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a group comprising six of the most prosperous countries in the Middle East, worth an estimated US$1.4 trillion (International Monetary Fund, 2016).

  • India is Canada’s largest trading partner in South Asia, with bilateral merchandise trade reaching $7.95 billion in 2016.

  • There is a network of more than 25 Canadian trade commissioners operating in the GCC and more than 50 in India (in eight offices covering every region of the country).

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