Minister Ng concludes successful visits to India, Israel, the West Bank, and the United Arab Emirates

News release

March 21 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

This week, Minister Ng concluded visits to India, Israel, the West Bank, and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) to strengthen Canada’s trade relationships with key partners. While working to grow and strengthen Canada’s trade relationships abroad, Minister Ng unequivocally condemned in the strongest terms President Putin’s unprovoked and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine, which is a direct challenge to the rules-based international order. She reaffirmed that Canada stands resolute against authoritarianism and with a free and democratic Ukraine, now and in the future.

In India, the Minister joined Minister Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution and Textiles for a Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment. The Ministers announced that they will relaunch negotiations towards a Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement – giving Canadian businesses greater access to India’s fast-growing market of 1.4 billion consumers – and work towards a Canada-India Early Progress Trade Agreement as the first deliverable. The Minister also met with other government and business leaders to advance Canada-India trade relations and discussed opportunities to support job creation and economic growth.

Minister Ng also announced that following significant advocacy in recent months, India has agreed to the import of Canadian pulses without fumigation penalties, until finalization of a systems approach for Canadian pulses. This will mean fewer costs for Canadian pulse farmers and exporters, as well as more predictability and opportunity in the Indian market. She also advocated for greater access for Canadian cherries and lumber exports.

While in Israel, Minister Ng met with Orna Barbivai, Israel’s Minister of Economy and Industry to discuss new partnerships between Canadian and Israeli companies made possible by the modernized Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) and cooperation between Canada and Israel on supporting gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. Minister Ng also met with Orit Farkash-Hacohen, Israel’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, and announced a refreshed Canada-Israel science, technology and innovation partnership.

In the West Bank, Minister Ng met with Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh and took part in a roundtable with female Palestinian leaders in business, economy and trade, where she heard about the opportunities and challenges of their work in the West Bank and Gaza. The Minister applauded their innovation and leadership in the community, and discussed how Canadian-Palestinian trade can be strengthened.

In the U.A.E, the Minister met with senior Emirati Government and business leaders to create opportunities through trade, including during the Canada Arab Business Council’s (CABC) Canada-Arab Business Forum. Minister Ng and Canada’s Governor General, Mary Simon met with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020, and His Excellency Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade to discuss bilateral relations. The Minister also met with His Excellency Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, the Minister of Economy to discuss Canada-UAE commercial relations, the negotiation of a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), and supporting SMEs to start up, scale up, and thrive in both countries and around the world. Finally, she and the Governor General launched Canada Day at Expo 2020.

As part of her meetings, Minister Ng underlined that greater economic engagement with partners provides opportunities to promote Canadian values, such as human rights, democracy, and mutual, inclusive economic development. She also affirmed that respect for human rights and support for minorities and underrepresented groups – including religious minorities, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ2S+ communities – lie at the heart of Canada’s trade policies, and that trade can be a force of positive change. 

Quotes

“Strengthening Canada’s trade relations with key partners is crucial to driving a strong, inclusive, and sustainable economic recovery. This trip has opened the door to further for trade and investment opportunities that will benefit Canadian businesses and exporters, while promoting Canadian values. Our government will continue to support Canadian businesses to start up, scale up, and expand into new markets around the world, creating economic growth and jobs in the process.”

- Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development

Quick facts

  • India has been one of Canada’s fastest-growing trade partners in the Indo-Pacific region. Over the past decade (2012 to 2021), merchandise trade between Canada and India increased 71%. In 2021, India was Canada’s 6th-largest merchandise trading partner in the Indo-Pacific region, our 13th-largest merchandise trading partner globally, and our 14th-largest destination for merchandise exports.

  • In 2020, Canadian direct investment in India amounted to $2 billion. Canadian portfolio investment in India is estimated to have grown more than 50% over the past five years, reaching about $27 billion.

  • Key sectors of opportunity in India for Canadian exporters include agriculture and agri-food, cleantech, digital industries, infrastructure, life sciences and automotive.

  • Israel is an important economic partner for Canada in the Middle East and North Africa region, with a full range of business possibilities including trade and investment. Since the original Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 1997, bilateral trade between the countries has more than tripled, reaching a value of nearly $1.8 billion in 2021. 

  • In 2020, Israel was the top destination for Canadian direct investment in the Middle East and North Africa region with a value of $515 million, while Israeli investment in Canada was valued at $617 million. 

  • A key element of the commercial relationship with Israel is collaboration in science, technology and innovation (STI). Bilateral STI relations are strong, developed through more than 20 years of close collaboration between the STI communities in both countries.

  • Canada is committed to addressing the needs of Palestinians while advancing the cause of peace, including by supporting the Palestinian people to build the social and economic conditions necessary for a two-state solution.

  • In line with its Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada provides significant assistance to Palestinians in areas such as humanitarian assistance, growth that works for everyone, inclusive governance and promotion of peace and stability, while also advancing gender equality.

  • In 2021, the UAE ranked as Canada’s second largest merchandise trading partner, and export market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Bilateral trade with the UAE was $2.5 billion, and Canadian merchandise exports UAE were nearly $2 billion, an increase of almost 11% from 2020.  Merchandise imports from the UAE grew to $550 million in 2021, an increase of 120% from the previous year.

  • More than 150 Canadian companies from a variety of sectors maintain a presence in the United Arab Emirates, which serves as a base for their operations in the region.

Associated links

Contacts

Alice Hansen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
613-612-0482
Alice.Hansen@international.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
media@international.gc.ca
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