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Canada And India To Co-Host Tech Summit 2017 In New Delhi

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Aug 11: This year, Canada is partnering with India to host the Canada – India Tech Summit 2017, India’s largest knowledge and technology conference and exhibition from November 14 in New Delhi. Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, will lead a strong business delegation to participate in the two-day event.

The Summit is being organized in conjunction with the Indian Ministry of Innovation Science and Economic Development (ISED) with support from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Key themes include Canada – India bilateral engagement across important sectors related to innovation and technology. This will be an opportunity to showcase Canadian expertise to business and political leaders, industry, think tanks, influencers and researchers from both countries.

The High Commissioner for Canada to India, Mr. Nadir Patel, said: “The Canada – India trading relationship lies at the very heart of our strategic partnership. With our participation at the Canada – India Tech Summit, I see huge potential for our countries to partner in ways that would benefit both our economies. While we are opening doors for Canadians looking to do business in India, I would also want to encourage more Indian tech companies to look to Canada for investment opportunities.”

This event takes place during Canada 150, the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation. It also follows on the heels of several recent Indian business missions to Canada supported by the government of Canada, through its network of 8 offices in India, including the High Commission in Delhi and Consulates General and Trade offices.

In June 2017, soon after the High Commissioner for Canada to India led a business delegation of nearly 150 Indian companies to Canada in celebration of Canada 150, more than 120 Indian pulse traders and millers attended the world’s largest pulse convention in Canada. This followed shortly after another Indian business delegation travelled to Vancouver for the Hydrogen and Fuel cells convention and a business mission to explore Canada’s life sciences technology capabilities.

In a short span of 6 weeks, more than 250 Indian business visitors have travelled to Canada, seeking technology and new products from Canada, highlighting the ever increasing trade ties between the two countries.


New body launched to promote India-US business ties

WASHINGTON, Aug 2: Formalising their split from the US-India Business Council (USIBC), its erstwhile members have floated a new outfit, the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, to promote better business ties between the two countries.

“What we are announcing today is an organisation redesigned for the future,” John Chambers, the executive chairman of Cisco Systems Inc, who is also chairing the USISPF, told reporters in New Delhi, according to Reuters.

The announcement came a day after Chambers met and briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the new body.

The USIBC management team led by Mukesh Aghgi has also joined the USISPF.

“India is moving faster than any other country in the last three years,” Chambers said. “India used to be known as a very slow follower, and now it's a fast innovator.”

Twenty-nine members of the USIBC board, comprising CEOs of some top American companies, had voted late last month to sever ties with the US chamber of commerce, the parent body, laying bare years of simmering tensions.

The chamber and the council had serious differences over some policy issues, going back several years — on market access, free trade matters and intellectual property rights, according to several past and present affiliates of the council.

The chamber joined a group of business bodies that called on the new Trump administration and congress in February to “use all available channels to ensure fair play for businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs across the United States, and to support Indian efforts that align with these goals”.

Several past and present USIBC officials have said they have felt “uncomfortable” by the chamber’s aggressive position on these issues, that had included asking the US trade representative to punish India with punitive trade measures.

The US chamber of commerce said in response to the announcement of the new body: “The USIBC and its staff continue their hard work on key issues affecting the critical relationship between our two countries.”

“We continue to receive strong support from our member companies as we focus our efforts on strengthening commercial ties. We will have more to say in the weeks ahead.”

Rupee closes at 2-year high against US dollar

MUMBAI, Aug 2: The Indian rupee on Wednesday strengthened past 64-mark to closed over two year high against the US dollar after the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) cut policy rates by 25 basis points and maintained its neutral stance as seen by most economists.

The rupee closed at 63.70 a dollar—a level last seen on 22 July 2015, up 0.59%, its maximum gains since 14 March, from its Tuesday’s close of 64.08. The rupee opened at 64.12 a dollar and touched a high of 63.60. So far this year it gained over 6.5%.

“Overall, the RBI’s rate decision and its neutral stance are in line with expectations. The neutral stance suggests that the RBI’s decision-making remains data-dependent” said Nomura Global Research in a note to its investors.

RBI noted that there are several uncertainties to the inflation trajectory such as farm loan waiver impact on state finances and maintained the neutral stance of monetary policy.

Bond yield gained as analyst expects prolong pause from RBI on the expectation of both growth and inflation rising over the next six to 12 months.

The 10-year bond yield closed at 6.464%, compared to its previous close of 6.442%. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.

“ Looking ahead, we expect GST-related growth weakness in June/July and a gradual recovery after August, aided by a resumption of production (after initial GST hiccups), ongoing re-monetisation, normal monsoons and easier financial conditions (lower lending rates, ample liquidity). Headline inflation bottomed in June and we expect it to rise gradually to above the medium-term target of 4% on higher food prices and statistical factors (HRA increases, adverse base effects),” the report added,

Gains in the rupee was also supported by continued inflows by foreign institutional investors (FII) in the local equity and debt markets. So far this year, FII’s bought $8.90 billion and $17.51 billion in equity and debt markets respectively.

The benchmark Sensex index fell 0.30% or 98.43 points to closed at 32,476.74. So far this year, it has risen over 22%.

In Tense South China Sea, Vietnam Renews India Oil Deal

HANOI/NEW DELHI, July 6: Vietnam has extended an Indian oil concession in the South China Sea and begun drilling in another area it disputes with China in moves that could heighten tensions over who owns what in the vital maritime region.

The moves come at a delicate time in Beijing's relations with Vietnam, which claims parts of the sea, and India, which recently sent warships to monitor the Malacca Straits, through which most of China's energy supplies and trade passes.

Vietnam granted Indian oil firm ONGC Videsh a two-year extension to explore oil block 128 in a letter that arrived earlier this week, according to the state-run company's managing director Narendra K. Verma.

Part of that block is in the U-shaped 'nine-dash line' which marks the vast area that China claims in the sea, a route for more than $5 trillion in trade each year in which the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also have claims.

A senior official of ONGC Videsh, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, said interest in the block was strategic rather than commercial, given that oil development there was seen as high-risk with only moderate potential.

"Vietnam also wants us to be there because of China's interventions in the South China Sea," the official said.

Vietnam's state-run PetroVietnam declined to comment on the concession, which was first granted to India in 2006 but had been due to expire in mid-June.

Conflicting territorial claims over the sea stretch back many decades but have intensified in recent years as China and its rivals have reinforced their positions on the rocks and reefs they hold.

Far to the south of block 128, drilling has begun in a block owned jointly by Vietnam's state oil firm, Spain's Repsol and Mubadala Development Co of the United Arab Emirates.

Deepsea Metro I, operated by Odfjell Drilling Ltd., has been drilling in the region since the middle of last month on behalf of Spain's Repsol SA, which also has rights to neighbouring block 07/03, Odfjell said.

Odfjell declined to comment on the specific location of its vessel, but shipping data from Thomson Reuters Eikon showed it was in oil block 136/3, which also overlaps China's claims. Odfjell's Eirik Knudsen, Vice President for Corporate Finance and Investor Relations, referred further queries to Repsol, which declined to comment. PetroVietnam made no comment.

When asked about the activity, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China opposes anyone "carrying out unilateral, illegal oil and gas activities in waters China has jurisdiction over".

"We hope the relevant country can act on the basis of maintaining regional peace and stability and not do anything to complicate the situation," he told a briefing in Beijing.

Chinese General Fan Changlong cut short a visit to Vietnam and a friendship meeting at the China-Vietnam border was cancelled around the time the drilling began.

The centuries-old mistrust between China and Vietnam is nowhere more evident than in their competing maritime claims, despite their shared communist ideology and growing trade.

Asked about the most recent drilling, Vietnamese officials said their Chinese counterparts have started raising concerns about cooperation with both Repsol and ExxonMobil Corp. of the United States, which is developing the $10 billion "Blue Whale" gas concession off central Vietnam.

They said Chinese officials also expressed concern at Vietnam's evolving security relationships with the United States and Japan, both of which have offered moral support for its South China Sea claims and help for Vietnam's coastguard.

Tensions with China were being contained, however, and had not yet reached crisis proportions, they said.

"We know they are unhappy again, but we are resisting the pressure - it is a traditional part of our relations with Beijing," one official said privately. "Other parts of the relationship remain strong."

Underlining the relationship between India and Vietnam, Vietnamese deputy prime minister Pham Binh Minh told a forum in New Delhi this week that India was welcome to play a bigger role in Southeast Asia - and specifically the South China Sea.

Hanoi's growing defence and commercial ties with India are part of its strategy of seeking many partnerships with big powers while avoiding formal military alliances.

The pace has picked up since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration took office in 2014 and sought to push back against China's expanding presence in South Asia by raising its diplomatic and military engagement in Southeast Asia.

India is providing naval patrol boats, satellite cover to monitor Vietnam's waters and training for its submarines and fighter pilots - more military support than it is giving to any other Southeast Asian country.

On the agenda are transfers of naval vessels and missiles under a $500 million defence credit line announced last year.

Next week, the navies of India, the United States and Japan will hold their largest joint exercises in the Bay of Bengal.





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