Canada may appoint Cameron Mackay as envoy to India – Hindustan Times

Among those who are being seriously considered for India posting is career diplomat Cameron Mackay, Canada’s Ambassador to Indonesia, who has an established track record in trade negotiations.

A Canadian flag flies in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is looking at appointing a veteran trade expert Cameron Mackay as its high commissioner to India. (REUTERS)
A Canadian flag flies in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is looking at appointing a veteran trade expert Cameron Mackay as its high commissioner to India. (REUTERS)

Published on Nov 09, 2021 10:46 AM IST

By Anirudh Bhattacharyya I Edited by Amit Chanda

In an effort to boost relations with India through stronger economic ties, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is looking at appointing a veteran trade expert Cameron Mackay as its high commissioner to New Delhi.

He is currently Canada’s Ambassador to Indonesia, but has an established track record in trade negotiations.

Mackay served as the director general of Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Negotiations Bureau, where he coordinated and supported Canada’s bilateral, regional and multilateral trade negotiations.

While discussions on a free trade agreement between the two nations have been revived, Hindustan Times has learnt that Ottawa is almost certain to appoint to trade negotiator to be the country’s top diplomat in India after the post fell vacant when Nadir Patel returned to Canada in June this year after serving for over six years as high commissioner there.

However, the decision on naming the new high commissioner will lie with Canada’s new foreign minister Melanie Joly, after she replaced her predecessor Marc Garneau when Justin Trudeau announced his new cabinet late last month.

India and Canada took forward discussions over a trade deal to the ministerial level at the G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial Meeting in Sorrento, Italy in October, when Indian commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal met Canada’s international trade minister Mary Ng.

Piyush Goyal had then tweeted that talks were on “for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), with energy, new technologies, manufactured goods & services, being key areas for future cooperation”.

After languishing for nearly four years, Indian and Canadian negotiators resumed discussions in June towards a possible trade pact between the two countries.

Those discussions, held virtually, were undertaken by officials of India’s commerce ministry and those from Canada’s international trade department. They had revisited the stalled CEPA, which has been under consideration for a full decade after talks were initiated under then Indian PM Dr Manmohan Singh and then Canadian PM Stephen Harper.

The last round of negotiations was held in August 2017. While Canadian officials wanted to clinch a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) prior to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to India in February 2018, New Delhi was more interested in concluding CEPA first. However, with relations declining following that disastrous visit, fresh talks were not scheduled outside of routine stocktaking.

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