The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 9 , 2014
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Bengal on trade radar

Calcutta, April 8: Canadian businesses are warming up to Bengal.

The Indo-Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC) today launched the east and Northeast regional councils in Calcutta, showing a growing interest in facilitating bilateral trade with the state.

Stewart G. Beck, Canadian high commissioner to India, said the country was exploring opportunities in energy, food, infrastructure and education.

ICBC was incorporated in 1994 to improve economic relations between India and Canada. The Calcutta foray takes the number of regional councils of the business chamber to five. It has its headquarters in New Delhi. The other regional chapters are in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Bangalore.

“The environment is improving (in Bengal). The business opportunity is increasing and it is important for us to explore it. We have an office here. I think we need to introduce more Canadian companies here. I realise the economic situation in the state is turning around,” Beck said after the inauguration of the city chapter here today.

The positive numbers churned out by Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra on the state’s performance seem to have gained favour too.

ICBC has five active committees nationally — information and communication technology, legal, aerospace, education and advanced skill training and media and entertainment.

At a CII session earlier in the day, Beck said the country was looking to forge partnerships with Indian educational institutions.

“India and Canada have a strong business relationship and are working towards signing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. There is a focus on increasing bilateral trade from close to $5 billion to $15 billion in the next few years. Infrastructure, oil and gas, mining, resources, energy are important areas and the east has a strong role to play in all of these,” Vikas Agarwal, chairperson of the Calcutta chapter of the ICBC, said.