A Summerland business person was part of a recent federal delegation to India.
Al Klar, owner of Range Rider Canopies in Summerland, said the delegation is important since there is plenty of potential for increased trade between Canada and India.
“India needs us. We have a lot to offer,” he said.
At present, Canada’s trade with India is $5 billion a year, but the federal government wishes to increase this amount to $16 billion in less than five years.
By comparison, Canada’s trade with the United States is around $400 billion a year.
Klar said by 2020, India’s middle class will be around the same size that in the United States.
“We should have a lot of trade with India,” he said.
He added that Canada’s best trade opportunities with India are in commodities, energy, gas and resources.
In addition, he said there are opportunities for value-added agricultural developments.
While India is the world’s second largest producer of fruits and vegetables, little of that is sold as value-added food.
“We can play a major and vital role there,” Klar said.
There are also education opportunites since India has many good management schools and technical centres.
“People are doing so well,” he said. “There are so many opportunites.”
At present, roughly one million Canadians are from India, with 80 per cent from Punjab.
At Canadian universities, 33,000 Indian students are enrolled.
Klar said the delegation was a positive experience and he hopes it will result in increased trade with India.
“The seed is being sown there and it is bearing the fruit,” he said. “We want to see it go a little faster.”