Canada - India Business Symposium

09 Jun 2017 9:00 AM | Mayank Bhatt


Canada - India Business Symposium 
Setting the agenda for the future of bilateral economic ties 
 Arun Srivastava  Nadira Hamid
 Dinesh Bhatia Francois-Phillipe Champagne
 Michael Chan   John Tory
 Nadir Patel  Vikas Swarup
 Deepak Chopra  Indian delegation

With over 130 Indian companies and an equal number of Canadian companies participating, the Canada – India Business Symposium held in early June 2017, turned out to be an unprecedented event that paved the way for a new agenda for bilateral economic relations between Canada and India.

The high profile participants included the High Commissioners of both Canada and India, members of the Canadian and the Indian diplomatic corps, and especially the Consul General of India in Toronto Ambassador Dinesh Bhatia, corporate honchos, academics, small entrepreneurs, political leaders from federal, provincial and city governments, stakeholders, members and sponsors of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, leaders of the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber, key influencers from the Canada-India corridor.

Deepak Chopra, CEO of Canada Post, in his keynote address, observed that India is a dynamic economy and Indian entrepreneurs should step forward to do business with Canada taking advantage of the Trade Commissioners’ network in India. He urged entrepreneurs on both sides to break barriers by utilising by e-commerce. Entrepreneurs should encourage local product and utilize the best talent. They should have back-up plans and should be adaptable to changes.

Launching the symposium, Arun Srivastava, President of the ICCC, said, “The purpose of the symposium is to set the agenda for the Canada – India bilateral economic relations with special emphasis on creating opportunities in trade, commerce and investments. We are hopeful that the various deliberations that have been planned for today will lead to policy formulations in the future that will enable a more productive business environment between our two democracies.”

His Excellency Nadir Patel explained further that Canada needs more India, and that there is a need to create more business opportunities in favour of India as they are only at 17% of the total trade as compared to Pakistan, China, Bangladesh and Bhutan who are doing better despite India having all the better resources such as

  • Knowledgeable Youth
  • Advance Technology
  • Cheap Labour
  • Cost Effective
  • Higher level of Consumption

He said that there was a remarkable increase of 260% in the number of students coming from India for education. The requirements of India from Canada include buying planes, investing in smart cities, developing for the advancement of highways, bridges, and the metro rail service. Central level of relationship with the Prime Minister sharing the profits in proportion and working together towards development.

Ambassador Dinesh Bhatia in his remarks spoke about the Indian and Canadian SME relationship and how it should be more involved with one another. He talked about the key factors regarding science and technology and that there is a 47% growth in this sector. He said Make in India, Start-up India, Swatch India and Skill India. In 2016, Canada invested 7.30B CAD in business which should be increased and diversified in other sectors such as Pulses, Education, Leather Trade. Also, the ministry of commerce should be actively involved in making the business people aware. India should be actively participating in the business development. Various prospective departments for Canadian markets to import are –

  • Pearls Jewellery
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Native Clothing
  • Woman Clothing

The inaugural session was followed by panel discussion.

The first panel discussion was ‘The Canadian Value Proposition for India' – Exploring what Canada has done to become the ideal business partner for India


The moderator was Mr. Goldy Hyder, President and CEO, Hill Knowlton.

 The panellists were:

  • Ms. Sandra Pupatello, director of business and global markets, PWC
  • Mr. Harinder Takhar, CEO, PayTM Labs
  • Mr. Sriram Iyer, President and CEO, ICICI Bank Canada
  • Mr. Kerry Adler, CEO, Sky Power Global

The second panel discussion was ‘The New India – a changing business landscape


The moderator was Mr. Jordan Reeves, Consul General of Canada in Mumbai.

The panellists in the session were:

  • Mr. Amir Singh Pasrich, Managing Partner, I.L.A Pasrich and Company
  • Mr. Carl Rodrigues, CEO, SOTI
  • Mr. John Farrow, Chairman, LEA Group Holdings
  • Mr. Harsh Dhingra, Bombardier India                                                    
  • Mr. Rakesh Nangia & Co. LLP.                                                                   

After these two sessions, His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, gave a luncheon address He gave a brief of how Toronto is the number one city in Canada in terms of technology and number three when it comes to Financials, and how there are various centres for the growth and development for the Indo-Canadian community in Canada.

Post Lunch, there were remarks about the symposium by the Minister of International Trade, Hon Michael Chan, and the Minister for International Trade for Canada, Mr Francois-Phillipe Champagne who flew in from Paris to attend the symposium.

Minister Champagne said he believes in India and met the Indian trade minister and thanked ICCC and also appreciated the leadership of ICBC and ICCC for organizing the symposium. He pointed out to similarities in both the countries such as demographics, diversities and both the countries are made for each other. Also, lots of international students come to Canada to study. The investment should be made bigger and bolder to promote a digital and smart India.

Ms. Nadira Hamid, CEO, ICBC, spoke about the development of India and Canada’s bilateral business and that there should be annual conferences and high level meetings and emphasised that leaders should encourage and strengthen the bond.

In the post lunch session, the topic of the third panel discussion was ‘Innovation driving two-way trade growth’


The moderator was Ms. Nathalie Bechamp, Director of General of investment and Innovation, Global Affairs Canada

The panellists of this session were:

  • Mr. Ashish Chauhan, CEO, Bombay Stock Exchange
  • Ms. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, Mars Discovery District
  • Mr. David Lisk, VP, National Research Council
  • Mr Suneet Tulli, CEO, Data Wind
  • Mr. Shankar Das Gupta, CEO, Electrovaya
H.E. Vikas Swarup, High Commissioner of India to Canada, closed the symposium and thanked the businesses in Canada and India. He said the Indo-Canada Partnership will sustain for a long duration. He laid emphasis on the digital India promotion and large scale chains. He applauded for the hard work and great efforts put forward by ICCC and ICBC in order to make this Indo-Canada Business Symposium a great success and wished that many more should be organized in the future. He shared a knowledgeable PPT regarding the development of Indo-Canadian bilateral trade.

Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce
924 The East Mall Toronto ON M9B 6K1
Tel: 416-224-0090416-224-0090 . 

Fax: 416-916-0086. 


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