TORONTO—Anupan Shah is a big fan of increasing Canada’s trade relationship with India.
“India has a population of 1.2 billion, it’s a huge market for Canadian businesses,” he says. “And India will be a net importer for ages to come.”
Shah, who shares double duty between the Engineering Export Promotion Council of India, where he serves as vice-chairman and his position as director at Nipha Exports Ltd., believes India presents Canadian firms with great export opportunities.
“India is a net importer of engineered goods, which means we buy a lot of capital equipment,” he says.
Statistics Canada export data shows the trade difference between Canada and India is a mere $10 million, meaning the two countries are on level playing fields when it comes to trade between them.
Shah says more can be done to breach existing trade barriers.
He says India is looking to make major investments in aerospace, nuclear and clean energy technology—sectors in which Canada is a global leader.
India has a GDP of more than $4 trillion and an expected annual GDP growth rate of 10.4 per cent, the fifth highest in the world according to CIA World Factbook. However, it only trades about $400 million worth of goods back and forth with Canada.
But Shah says India presents Canadian businesses with a great export opportunity because the country is a net importer. It’s also one of the fastest growing economies in the world after making strides in automotive and electronic manufacturing and making moves toward clean energy and nuclear developments.
“India imports $13 million more a month that we export,” he says. “We’re bringing an extra $160 billion to markets of the world.”
And while some have questioned the quality of goods coming out of Indian factories, Shah says those concerns should no longer exist after some of the world’s major players in heavy equipment and transportation invested in the country.
He says industrial transportation giants like Caterpillar and John Deere are now buying India-made components.
“They would not buy if the quality was not there,” says Shah.
Shah says there’s major growth opportunities for Canadian aerospace firms, like Bombardier, as Indian airlines embark on spending sprees to meet increased air travel demand.
Bombardier may also find opportunities for its rail operations.
“Rail travel is the heart of India travel and it will continue to grow,” says Shah.
Indeed, Shah says it is important to increase trade between Canada and India. And if it’s done right, Canadian businesses may come to benefit from such a buyers market in India, hungry to continue its growth and diversification.