Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chidambaram pledges closer economic cooperation with Canada

TORONTO, April 17, 2013 PTI

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has vowed further economic and investment cooperation with Canada but turned down the demand for granting special treatment to Canadian pension funds.

In a meeting with Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird and Canada's Central Bank Governor Mark Carney, Mr. Chidambaram said India and Canada should tap potential for cooperation in areas such as trade, economy and investment to benefit the two countries and their peoples.

He discussed with them the economic situation in India and the steps taken by the government to attract foreign investment.

Mr. Chidambaram urged Canada to promote India as an investment destination and encourage its pension funds to invest in the country.

Both sides have agreed to expand trade and economic cooperation and stressed the need to accelerate early conclusion of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA), official sources said on Tuesday.

Both sides expressed satisfaction and welcomed ongoing negotiations on CEPA and stressed the need for an early conclusion of FIPPA, the sources said.

Mr. Chidambaram left Ottawa for Boston on Tuesday, following his original schedule despite the bomb attacks that killed three and injured over 170 people at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Finance Minister turned down demand of Canadian pension plan chiefs to grant them special treatment.

The minister is learnt to have ruled out such an incentive, stating it would violate the right to equality as outlined in Article 14 of the Constitution.

Mr. Chidambaram opined that with India extending the most favoured nation (MFN) status to several countries; it could not give special concessions to Canadian funds.

Instead, he pointed out the principles of Anglo-American jurisprudence, shared by India and Canada, maintaining that would be a strong protection for Canadian investors.

The pension plans represented at the meeting were the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB); the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OMERS); PSP Investments and Caisse de Depot.

They collectively manage around half a trillion dollars, and have emerged as large-scale investors around the world in recent years.
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