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Jagat Shah: CANADA INDIA: Next 20 years (2020 to 2040 )

There are many articles written and debates conducted on macro aspects and strategy of growing trade & investment between Canada and India. Through this article, I am trying to present the practically do-able brass-tacks on how to walk the talk….

  • Canada became a nation in 1867 (152 years)
  • Indian became an independent nation in 1947 (72 years)
  • Canada’s exports to India in 2017-18 was US$ 4.7 billion
  • India’s exports to Canada in 2017-18 was US$ 2.5 billion
  • Total trade between the two nations was US$ 7.2 billion
  • Canada’s total trade with USA was US$ 508 billion (70 times that of India)
  • Canada’s total trade with China was US$ 63 billion (9 times that of India)

Ten steps to increase trade between India & Canada:

  1. Startups & innovative companies are the key to the future  
  2. Warehouse in India and Canada 
  3. Formalize buying agency network in Canada and India  
  4. Organize one Federal investment Expo and summit every year.
  5. Organize Vibrant Canada Global Expo & Summit 2020 in India and Vibrant India Global Expo & Summit in Canada.
  6. Global Tender business between Canada and India
  7. Indo Canada Joint Venture Centre
  8. Investment always follows trade      
  9. Trade & investment helpline
  10. More business travel by SME’s.

1.Startups & innovative companies are the key to the future   

Today’s startups are going to be tomorrows trade and investment partners. Establish two innovation centers between Canadian and Indian startup companies & innovation ecosystem in India and in Canada.  India has become the second largest start up nation of world. Canada has a robust Start up & innovation policy. Canada should open an incubation center & an accelerator in India and India should open one in Canada. Both governments spend millions of dollars on such activities but now they need to take it to the next level of crossing the oceans. Such centers have to be funded only in the beginning by government but run by private sector or nonprofit organizations on self-sustaining approach. The center should be fully autonomous in its functioning.          

2. Warehouse in India and Canada  

Open two state led and private sector managed warehouses in Canada and India. The Canadian warehouse in India needs to be funded only in the beginning by the Government of Canada and then run by private sector on self-sustaining approach and on rental basis, charged to Canadian companies . This warehouse can stock Canadian products for next day sales, faster deliveries, solving quality related challenges as importing companies in India can see the goods and buy, and faster payment cycle rotations. Shipments can also be made by Canadian company from this Indian warehouse to South East Asia, neighboring countries of India, Middle east, Australia / New Zealand etc. Warehousing costs in India are much lower than in Canada where in any case much of these stocks, like the foodgrains are being stocked currently.

Same way India to build a warehouse in Canada for use on rental basis by Indian companies. The Indian warehouse in Canada can be used for shipments to USA and Latin America.         

3. Formalise buying agency network  

Buying agencies & trade consultants have been in existence since 1000 years and will remain a critical link for small and medium enterprises in both countries.  European Union took a good initiative of organizing these stakeholders of trade into a systematic framework: http://www.eu-distributors.com

Similarly, USA has set a good example with Manufacturers Agents National Association: www.manaonline.org

Check out the models and implement. Such initiatives have to be first funded by the government of Canada and India and then to be run by private sector. This will boost Canadian trade as well as investment with India and the other way.   

4. Organise one Federal investment Expo and summit every year.

A good example to follow would be Select USA, held every year in Washington DC in June by US Commercial Service, Department of Commerce, USA. All states of USA are present there with an info booth & knowledge sharing sessions and 2000+ investors from 70 countries attend. This initiative has to be led by Government of Canada, in Private Public Partnership - PPP approach with private sector. https://www.selectusa.gov/selectusa-summit

5. Organise Vibrant Canada Global Expo & Summit 2020 in India and Vibrant India Global Expo & Summit in Canada.

Vibrant Gujarat, since 2003, a vision of Narendra Modi, has been an extremely popular GLOBAL brand name and model for making Gujarat one of the most prosperous states of India. The template is a proven and time tested model. I strongly suggest that Government of Canada, together with ICCC should organize Vibrant Canada 2020 in India and Government of India should organize Vibrant India 2021 in Canada. Vibrant Canada can be organized in one state of India every year. Same way for Vibrant India. The expo & summit in itself will be self sustaining. Only the start up fund has to be given by Government of Canada and India.

See examples:




6. Global Tender business between Canada and India

Government of Canada and Government of India buy a lot of goods and services on Global tender basis. Both Canadian & Indian companies do not have complete access to these opportunities. An online Tender portal should be promoted by ICCC in partnership with Government of Canada and India and all Global tenders of both countries should be posted there. This will increase trade between Canada and India. 

7. Indo Canada Joint Venture Centre

There are many opportunities for joint venture opportunities between Canadian and Indian companies in India and Canada. This centre, one in Canada and one in India should extend match making facilities to Canadian and Indian companies. Through a portal, such requests can be registered and match making and handholding done.   

8. Investment always follows trade.      

Focus on trade first. Every province of Canada should lead a trade delegation to India once in a year. Do not go just to the Metros in India, go to Tier two cities, most growth is happening there. Top 10 states of India, should lead a trade delegation to Canada every year. Every year one Federal government led delegation should go to India & Canada.

9. Trade & investment helpline

A dedicated 24-hour phone helpline should be established for both Canadian and Indian to ask any questions related to trade and investment. The people handling the helpline can be trained and they can in turn pass on the queries to relevant companies or government department or to any relevant stakeholders.  

10. More business travel to each other countries by small and medium companies on both sides.

If any or some or all of this is implemented, trade between Canada and India will double to two years. The key is to focus on small and medium enterprises on both sides, Private Public Partnership approaches, and to establish institutional framework for such initiatives for long term.

Dr. Jagat Shah

Founder & President





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