Minister of Finance Michael de Jong met with Indian Finance Minister, Minister of Corporate Affairs in the cabinet of India, Arun Jaitley, today in New Delhi to discuss ways to continue to strengthen economic ties between India and British Columbia.
“I was impressed by Minister Jaitley’s interest in mutual economic investments in both India and Canada by companies, such as Indian Oil. India is an important economy with a young and growing middle class that represents an important opportunity for B.C. partnership, trade and investment, particularly in the areas of forestry, energy, international education and clean technology,” says Minister of Finance Michael de Jong.
The meeting builds on bilateral discussions and activities since the visit by Prime Minister Modi to Vancouver in 2015, where the prime minister and senior Indian government officials showed great support and enthusiasm for formalizing relations between India and British Columbia. Meeting topics included: the recent approval by the Canadian federal government of the Pacific North West LNG project; the successful issuance of B.C.’s Indian Rupee (INR) bond; and future opportunities to expand two-way trade and investment.
By 2030, India is expected to be the world’s third-largest economy behind the United States and China. B.C. exports to India have jumped from $201 million in 2011 to $623 million in 2015, making India B.C.’s fifth-largest trading partner. Real GDP in India was 7.2% in 2014, and estimated to grow to 7.6% in 2015, and in 2016 is expected to be 7.4%.
The Government of British Columbia has been actively working to make India and B.C. long-term partners in economic and social prosperity. It’s a strategy that’s focused on:
- Building the foundation of the India-B.C. relationship based on mutual economic growth;
- Identifying targeted opportunities for B.C. to help address specific needs of the Indian market and;
- Making India top-of-mind among B.C.’s exporters.
On Sept. 9, 2016, British Columbia was the first foreign government to issue a bond in the Indian Rupee (INR) offshore market – or what is known colloquially as a Masala bond. The bond issue demonstrates the Province’s confidence in the outlook for India, and positions B.C. to participate in internationalization of the INR and India’s economy.
In addition, with Budget 2016, the Government of British Columbia committed $5 million over three years to promote a stronger B.C. wood brand in India. This investment is helping B.C. companies establish themselves as the world’s leading suppliers of sustainably harvested wood products to a market that includes the world’s largest middle class.
British Columbia’s work to build a strong relationship with India has proven successful. Earlier this week, Air Canada launched a direct flight from Vancouver to Delhi, demonstrating that India and B.C. are closer than ever before. This flight now provides a direct link for businesses to come together, and families to stay connected.