CBC Toronto - Photo By Timothy Neesam

Ties to India

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A group of Sikhs watch a parade in Queens Park near the statue of King Edward VII, which stood in Delhi
until it was moved to Toronto in 1969. (CP/Aaron Elkaim)

Jugaad and the art of the deal

Jugaad is a Hindi word suggesting equal parts luck, fate and determination.

India's improvised vehicles are one example of the spirit of jugaad - making things work by any means possible. These improvised vehicles are sometimes referred to as jugaad. (AP)

It is a mysterious, but key ingredient in the art of the deal.
Perhaps jugaad may finally be happening for Toronto. This week, businesspeople from the India diaspora in North America meet in Toronto to talk about harnessing Toronto's economy to one of the largest economies in the global marketplace.

Audio: Matt Galloway spoke with Preeti Saran,the Consul General of India in Toronto, and with the deputy chief economist at CIBC, Benjamin Tal. Listen audio (runs 7:07)

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Diaspora Indian Day) forum at the Metro Convention Centre features a host of presentations about what it will take to build those bridges.

A new opportunity

At the end of the month, a second business forum expands the conversation. For the first time ever, the annual conference of the Federation of India Chambers of Commerce is being hosted in Toronto, bringing together Indian entrepreneurs from around the world. There are growing concerns Toronto has been missing in action when it comes to realizing the potential of its ties to India, one of the world's fastest-growing economies.

The Toronto region is home to half a million Indo-Canadians and Canada is home to a half-million more. And yet Canada's bilateral trade with India is the lowest of any G8 country. In 2010, IndoCanada trade totalled $4.5-billion, compared with the U.S. at $50-billion. Government-led initiatives have shown similar lacklustre results. In spite of 43 ministerial visits from Canada to India from 2006 to 2009, and 18 more lower-level trips in 2009 and 2010, there is still no bilateral trade agreement.

The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) which was to have been signed this coming September is mired in red tape and it appears unlikely its signators will meet the fall deadline.

In our series, Ties to India, a panel of business leaders explores the opportunities and assesses the failures to exploit the economic potential of one of Toronto's most dynamic entrepreneurial communities to expand Toronto's own economy.

And we hear from Steve Gupta and Pradeep Sood, two Indo-Canadian businesspeople who know all about the role of jugaad - the art of making things work - when it comes to making a deal.

Matt Galloway and our panel
Matt Galloway and our panel

Audio from our Panel

Complete panel discussion Listen audio (runs 45:08)
Panel part one - the importance of boosting trade Listen audio (runs 5:28)
Panel part two - navigating cultural differences Listen audio (runs 5:28)
Panel part three - navigating cultural differences continued... Listen audio (runs 5:30)
Panel part four - Canada needs India more than India needs Canada Listen audio (runs 4:27)

Tell us your story

Are you a Toronto entreprenur who wants to further your connections to India? Do you have suggestions or strategies to share on how to develop international business relationships?

Leave us a message on the Metro Morning Vox Box at (416) 205-5807 or share your thoughts below..