India’s Newest Hook-Up for Iron Ore, Coking Coal? Canada.

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Some may say it’s a new dawn in India-Canada trade relations. Both nations have recently signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to nurture cooperation in the mining and steel sector.

A high profile delegation from Canada led by the country’s Minister of Natural Resources Joe Liver concluded its India visit last week. They signed the LOI with India’s Minister of Steel and Mines Beni Prasad Verma.

As per the agreement, both countries will develop and expand mutual cooperation, inter alia, through information exchanges in areas of mutual interest including iron ore, coking coal and other steel-making raw materials and encourage bilateral investment in iron and steel-related businesses and industry, including pelletization plants, according to a report in the New Indian Express.

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Both nations also aim to expand and strengthen bilateral relations and to identify areas of cooperation and assistance. Canada is endowed with a huge wealth of natural resources, especially coking coal.

In fact, another report in The Hindu quoting Joe Daniel stated that Canada’s aim was to increase the current US $5 billion trade with India to US $15 billion by 2015.

Daniel told reporters that the best way of achieving this was signing a bilateral trade agreement. The agreement, which envisions the abolition of certain duties and taxes, was in the final stages of negotiations. The agreement, proposed to be comprehensive, also envisions cutting duties or taxes on products and services, paving the way for bilateral trade to grow, he said.

The visiting delegation is believed to have discussed various topics with their Indian counterparts, including the prospects and growth of the iron and steel industry with regard to investment opportunities in raw materials.

Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast told The Star that economic diplomacy also had to be a core objective in Canada’s foreign policy plan. Fast said Canada had set its sights on developing nations such as India, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Canada joined the Trans-Pacific trade partnership in 2012, which also includes Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.

Incidentally, Canada, at present, does not have a trade agreement with any Asian country.

What This Means for Metal Buyers

For Indian steel companies, it means access to new sources of much-needed raw materials, and, in turn, perhaps a boost in steel production.

FREE Download: The Monthly MMI® Report – covering the Steel/Iron Ore markets.

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