Contributing Lawyers


Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

Canada's Free Trade Negotiators Seek Input Re Canada-India CEPA Negotiations

On January 6, 2011, the Canada's Minister of Trade, Peter Van Loan, met with Canada's Indo-Canadian community and indicated that the Harper Government wants to learn what they would like to see in a free trade agreement. Here is a link to the official announcement regarding the meeting -

This type of consultation with stakeholders is common because the negotiators do not know what are all the problems currently experienced by businesses that could be resolved during free trade agreement negotiations. Canada's chief negotiator of the Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is none other than Don Stephenson, Canada's former Ambassador to the WTO during the Doha Round negotiations and former Chairman of the WTO Non-Agricultural Market Access Negotiations. he will have a good idea of some of the issues since he was in the trenches at the WTO before the DOHA Round went silent. That being said, he needs more information on non-tariff barriers and technical barriers to trade, labour mobility concerns, and intellectual property concerns. He needs to know what types of government contracts in India (Federal, State, Local) do Canadian companies pursue and what is their history of getting contract awards.

A very significant issue is the Indian court system and Canada's negotiators need to understand the problems that businesses face in India's courts that hinder business.

There is a long list of what the government of Canada negotiators do not know and they do not know what is missing from the list of what they need to know. It is important for Indo-Canadian businesses to communicate with Canada's negotiating team and provide useful information (not just a request for them to hurry up).

We would be pleased to help. Cyndee Todgham Cherniak can be reached at 416-307-4168 or cyndee(at) She is a trade lawyer at McMillan LLP and an adjunct law professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio and teaches a course on NAFTA and free trade agreements. As part of a project for the Asian Development Bank, she reviewed all of India's free trade agreements entered into up to 2007 and completed a table of provisions. She reviewed over 150 free trade agreements/regional trading agreements as part of that project.

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