OTTAWA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Friday is likely to boost bilateral trade, a leading economist said in a recent interview.
Sources revealed that there will be no signing of a free trade deal on Friday between the two countries. But a new partnership between a Canadian and an Indian think-tank, to be unveiled following the two leaders' meeting, could fast-track a trade pact that has been stalled for more than seven years.
The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), located in the high-tech Canadian city of Waterloo, and Gateway House, the Mumbai-based Indian Council on Global Relations, are set to announce an initiative involving Canadian and Indian public and private sector officials.
"If we had this in place five or 10 years ago, the investor protection and trade agreements might have gone more smoothly," said CIGI president Rohinton Medhora, a Mumbai-born economist, in an interview.
Negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between Canada and India began in November 2010 when Stephen Harper, the former leader of Canada's Conservative Party, was prime minister.
Talks to establish a Canada-India Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) commenced in 2005 and concluded two years later but went nowhere when the Indian government put a halt to the deal in 2013 over concerns about investor-state dispute mechanisms featured in FIPA.
Medhora said that Trudeau' s visit to India won't lead to doubling of two-way trade, currently worth about 6 billion U.S. dollars, as the previous Harper Canadian government had hoped to reach by 2015.
"But Trudeau is creating a platform for that growth to happen," said Medhora.
Trudeau arrived in India on Feb. 17 for a week-long state visit.