City of Calgary invites Indian investment

New Delhi (IANS): The City of Calgary, Alberta, on Monday invited Indian business to invest in Canada’s third largest municipality, which has a substantial population of South Asians, towards contributing to the growing volume of bilateral trade between India and Canada.

The call to Indian business to invest in Calgary was made by the city’s Indian-origin Mayor Naheed Nenshi at a roundtable here organized by industry chamber CII [Confederation of Indian Industry]. Nenshi is on a visit to India as the head of a Canadian business delegation.

Pointing out that Calgary’s strengths include the energy, financial technology (fintech) and “creative industry” sectors, the Mayor said that with Canada having a trade deficit with India, his mission is help to Indian companies locate in Calgary which has the expertise to help Indian firms grow their business.

“In a world increasingly defined by closure, we are defiantly open to the best talent in the world. The H-1B visa (US) has become almost impossible to get, whereas the same kind of visa can be got for Canada in 10 days,” Nenshi said.

Noting that the Economist has ranked Calgary as the western hemisphere’s best city to live in, he said that Calgary is looking to intensify trade relations at the state level in India. His delegation is also scheduled to visit Mumbai and Bengaluru.

“Calgary wants to be the destination of choice for the best innovators and entrepreneurs in order to solve the hardest problems like the climate change issue, as well as the most difficult one of how different peoples can live together…to build a community in these dark and divided times,” the Mayor said.

“When you ask how all this is linked to business, the question for us is how to be able to succeed both socially and economically,” he said, adding that “the South Asian community has been in Calgary since the beginning.”

More than 25 per cent of Calgary’s population belongs to a visible minority group, of whom South Asians comprise 7.5 per cent, followed by the Chinese (6.8 per cent) and Filipinos (4.4 per cent).

A delegation member, Calgary Economic Development Commissioner of Film and Creative Industries Luke Azevedo, said that they were looking to expand cooperation with the Mumbai film industry as well as with regional cinema, particularly from south India.

A CII statement said that India-Canada trade has been steadily increasing over the last two decades, and in 2018, imports from India were the “Canadian market’s fastest-growing (non-US) source at a 30 per cent increase from the previous year”. Bilateral trade in 2017-18 was worth $7.23 billion.

The number of Indians studying in Canada has also grown phenomenally to around 200,000 students.