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Goal Of Business Mission To India And Pakistan Is New Opportunities For Ontarians: Premier Mcguinty

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Goal Of Business Mission To India And Pakistan Is New Opportunities For Ontarians: Premier Mcguinty

Delegation Of Leading Ontarians Departs For New Delhi

Office of the Premier

Premier Dalton McGuinty is leading a business mission of more than 100 Ontarians, determined to strengthen the ties between Ontario and India and Pakistan.

"There is enormous potential for even greater partnership between Ontario, Canada's economic engine, and India and Pakistan, two of the worlds' fastest growing economies," Premier McGuinty said as the mission departed today.

"Our mission's goal is to find new ways for our people to work and build and prosper together."

More than 100 leading Ontarians -- representing 87 Ontario companies, universities and other organizations as well as government -- will visit key centres in India and Pakistan before returning to Toronto January 26.

More than 87 Ontario companies, universities and other organizations have joined Premier McGuinty on the mission. Sandra Pupatello, Minister of Economic Development, Harinder Takhar, Minister of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and MPPs Vic Dhillon, Linda Jeffrey and Dr. Kuldip Kular are also part of the delegation.

"We have a lot going for us in Ontario. Our diversity strengthens our ability to compete in the global economy. Our business costs, combined with publicly funded medicare, are very attractive. And our people are well-educated and highly skilled, with a work ethic that is second to none," Premier McGuinty said.

"But in today's hyper-competitive economy, we cannot sit back and wait for the world to come to us. We have to get out there and compete for jobs and investment for our people. It makes perfect sense to seek new opportunities in India and Pakistan, given the success of so many Ontarians from that part of the world, and the strong foundation that already exists between our countries."

The business mission is indeed building on a strong foundation: trade in goods between Ontario and India, for example, topped $1 billion in 2005, up about 80 per cent from five years earlier.

But with the Indian economy growing by an average of 8 per cent over the past 3 years, there is clear potential for further growth. For instance, India estimates it will need $170 billion worth of new infrastructure over the next five years, and Ontario firms are well equipped to help provide it.

"This mission will help deepen the connections between our countries through increased trade, expanded partnerships in education and research and innovation, and cultural exchanges," said Pupatello.

"Everyone on the mission is looking forward to the work we're about to do. But, most of all, we look forward to the real opportunities this mission, and Ontario's continuing work abroad, can deliver for Ontarians."

In India, the mission has placed its emphasis on five sectors: infrastructure, research and innovation, financial services, cultural industries and education. Premier McGuinty will meet with key government decision-makers in New Delhi and network with leaders from India's business community in Bangalore. The mission will also visit the commercial capital of Mumbai and conclude in Punjab with business events in Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Amritsar.

In Pakistan, the mission will focus on information and communications technologies. Representatives from Ontario educational institutions will also explore opportunities with leading institutions in Pakistan. The mission will begin in the country's commercial and educational capital, Lahore, and then continue to Islamabad for meetings with government leaders.

"In Ontario, we have a large and successful South Asian community that's part of a highly skilled, highly educated, and highly motivated workforce, and we offer unfettered access to the U.S. market," said Premier McGuinty.

"Our message to our friends overseas is simple: in Ontario, you can feel at home and access all of the opportunities North America has to offer at the same time."

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