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June 28, 2011

Canada’s trade talks with India, to avoid mutual disappointment, need ambitious goals, supported by a strategic approach and political will, according to a report from the C.D. Howe Institute. In “Does Canada Have an India Strategy? Why it Should and What Both Sides Can Gain from Comprehensive Talks,” author Dr. Wendy Dobson warns that Canada’s scattershot record on trade agreements raises the question of whether Canada’s trade policy is ad hoc or if we have, instead, a trade strategy.

After years of an economic relationship that can only be described as cool, Canada and India have begun negotiating a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).   A trade agreement with India, the world’s second-most populous country, Professor Dobson says, has potential. Yet for both countries the size of the economic relationship with the other is modest, and both have long lists of uncompleted trade agreements begun with third countries. Accordingly, Dobson says that to overcome differences, commitment and enthusiasm will be required on both sides. To live up to the title of “comprehensive” for an enlarged bilateral economic relationship, the CEPA negotiations will need vision and ambition.


Wendy Dobson

Dr. Wendy Dobson is Professor Emerita, Economic Analysis and Policy at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.

She is a former Associate Deputy Minister of Finance in the Canadian government, former President of the C.D. Howe Institute, and has served as a non-executive director of a number of Canadian companies in finance and energy.