Prime Minister Stephen Harper's first full day in India included a business roundtable meant to showcase recent trade and investment deals between the two countries.
A news release from the international trade minister's office "estimated" the deals were worth over $2.5 billion, although some of the companies involved did not provide dollar figures for their deals, citing legal or confidentiality concerns.
The government wanted to "highlight recent collaboration between Canadian and Indian companies," providing "increased profile to the deals and ultimately the depth of the Canada-India relationship," a spokesman for International Trade Minister Ed Fast wrote.
"Investment is two-way," Fast told reporters. "There's an investment imbalance in favour of India and we're trying to rectify that."
Canada is hoping to secure a bilateral investment treaty with India, but the negotiations are still ongoing, with no specific timelines given for its completion.
Fast told reporters India still represents a "relatively opaque investment environment" for Canadian businesspeople, with "Byzantine rules" sometimes standing in the way.
Current bilateral trade between the two countries is about $5.2 billion, but both governments hope to increase that to $15 billion by 2015.
In some cases, Canadian technology is finding new applications in India's transportation and communications sectors. Several of the projects named Monday involve environmentally friendly or more energy efficient innovations.
Canadian manufacturing facilities could be built or expanded if some of the deals go ahead. But for other projects, most of the jobs created are based at plants in India.
Here's more about the agreements the trade minister was praising on Monday:
7 new deals
Prairie Pulp & Paper Inc. of Winnipeg has finalized a technology research and transfer agreement with Central Pulp & Paper Inc. of Saharanpur, India, to build a wheat straw-based paper plant in Manitoba. This new investment of between $500 million and $600 million is expected to reduce the company's annual costs by about $5 million per year. At the moment, the Canadian company markets tree-free paper made in India.
Taraspan of Kanata, Ont., and Tulip Telecom from New Delhi, India, are launching internet-based voice and data communication services in more than 2,000 cities in India, using technology from Canada's Mitel Networks Corporation.
Electrovaya of Mississauga, Ont., and Bhaskar Solar from Kolkata, India, signed a memorandum of understanding to implement "renewable energy management solutions" across a proposed 15,000 telecom towers throughout India.
Electrovaya also will now provide Canadian-made lithium ion batteries for Hero Eco Ltd.’s electric bicycles in Europe and North America.
Maisliner of La Salle, Que., announced it will open a new manufacturing plant in India to produce up to 6,000 refrigerated trucks a year for transporting agricultural products, processed food and pharmaceuticals.
Canadian Technology and Business Facilitators Inc. of Hamilton, Ont., has signed a long-term partnership deal with British-owned economic development firm ETI Dynamics, allowing a Canadian consortium to contribute water technologies and training to the Ganga River cleanup. The river cleanup is a massive international project billed as a "$100-billion opportunity" – the Ontario Clean Water Agency and several community colleges from the province will now have a slice of the work.
Export Development Canada, a federal Crown corporation, is providing $50 million to India’s Reliance Industries Limited to "help Canadian exporters meet the Indian company’s ongoing and future procurement needs." Reliance Industries is the largest private-sector company in India and part of the Fortune Global 500. EDC's loan is part of a larger $1-billion loan from a consortium of international banks. On Monday, Fast characterized the Crown corporation's mandate as filling "gaps left behind by private-sector lenders."
7 previously-announced deals
- On Oct. 9, La Coop fédérée of Montreal and the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO), in collaboration with Invest Quebec, revealed plans to start building a nitrogen fertilizer plant in Bécancour, Que. This $1.2-billion investment is contingent on a feasibility study as well as the partners raising the remaining capital required for the plant. The plant’s construction is scheduled to begin in 2014 and it could be producing urea, a nitrogen fertilizer component, by 2017. Up to 200 jobs may be created in the Trois-Rivières, Que., area if the financing comes through.
On Oct. 30, Westport Innovations of Vancouver finalized a deal with Tata Motors of Mumbai to develop a natural-gas engine and related technology for the Indian company's light- and medium-duty trucks and buses. Tata Motors is India's largest engine manufacturer and Westport builds engines that use compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, hydrogen and renewable natural gas fuels such as landfill gas.
- During the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Sept. 24, Westport also announced an agreement to work with New Delhi's Technology Action for Rural Advancement on a project to improve air quality and access to electricity in rural India. Westport's technology will help fuel mobile phone towers with natural gas generators while providing excess power to nearby homes that are currently off the country's electrical grid.
Last November (2011), Montreal's Bombardier Transportation won a $200-million contract from Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation to design and manufacture equipment for a total of 72 commuter trains with 12 cars each, operating on Mumbai's suburban rail network. Delivery is underway and scheduled to be complete by the end of 2014. Bombardier is building the equipment at its plant in Maneja, India.
Bombardier has also supplied 614 energy efficient cars for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, a contract worth over $900 million. The final order of 76 cars is expected to be delivered in early 2013 from its production facility in Gujarat State, India. A Bombardier news release issued last year says this manufacturing created 780 new direct jobs and more than 3,000 indirect jobs through their local supplier network in India.
On June 7, IRD South Asia Pvt. Ltd. (a division of IRD of Saskatoon) announced it had won a $1.7-million contract with Reliance Infrastructure Limited to build four toll plazas for the 50-lane Gurgaon Faridabad expressway across the state of Haryana in India. The project also includes 12 lanes of electronic toll collection using radio frequency identification readers and transponders.
In the spring of 2011, IRD South Asia also signed three other contracts worth $1.5 million to provide its toll road services in India. It is now the supplier for automated vehicle counting and classification services in 10 locations, high-speed weigh-in-motion systems in five locations and centralized information systems to 174 other toll plazas across the country.