Harper presses for stronger Canada-India trade ties

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) shakes hands with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper...

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) shakes hands with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper before their delegation level talks in New Delhi November 6, 2012. (REUTERS/B Mathur)

David Akin, Parliamentary Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 11:02 PM ET

NEW DELHI, India – Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada and India must do more to tie each other’s economies closer together and must do that quickly.

In his last event in the Indian capital, Harper spoke at the World Economic Forum about the goal of expanding two-way trade to $15 billion a year from its current level of about $5 billion a year.

"We need to become closer partners more quickly," Harper was to say in a speech, a copy of which was provided to reporters here before he began to speak.

While the ruling Congress Party here would like to see more foreign investment in India, there is widespread opposition here to companies like Walmart entering the Indian market.

More than 500 Canadian companies are already active in the Indian market.

The two countries have been negotiating a deal that would open up trade between the two nations. The next round of those trade negotiations is set to kick off in December.

"When so much mutual interest, obvious synergy, and cultural compatibility draw us together, greater momentum for a much closer and deeper partnership should be attainable," Harper said.

Harper is scheduled to travel Wednesday afternoon to Chandigarh, the capital of the northwestern Indian state of Punjab. There he will tour some Sikh holy sites.


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