Thiruvananthapuram: A Canadian delegation of law makers and businessmen on Wednesday held a meeting with Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy and his senior cabinet colleagues here and expressed interest in a mutually beneficial business tie-up. The Canadian delegation was led by Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism (Deputy Minister) Chungsen Leung and parliament member Daniel Joe, both from the ruling Conservative Party, and included businessmen who came scouting for opportunities.
Speaking to IANS after the meeting, State Industries Minister P.K.Kunhalikutty said the meeting was fruitful and the two sides were convinced that there are quite a few areas where a tie-up would be mutually beneficial. "They have agreed to participate in the 'Emerging Kerala' business meet organised by the Kerala government to be held in September. This meet will showcase specific projects where Canadian businessmen can invest in the fields of education, IT, tourism and other sectors," said Kunhalikutty.
Daniel Joe, who hails from Kerala, said the main purpose of this visit is to look into opportunities as both India and Canada are going to shortly enter into a bi-lateral trade agreement. "Today, the situation is that most of the business happens between Punjab and Canada and it is here where we see lot of opportunities for a tie-up with my home state. One area where Kerala can hugely benefit is in non-conventional energy, where Canada is very strong. Another area is cleaning up the rivers in the state because we have the technology for that too," said Daniel Joe.
He added that education is another area where tie-ups can be arranged between intuitions in Kerala and Canada. "Initially, we will be looking into areas like technical courses, where there can be a common curriculum and it will benefit the skilled professionals. Once the curriculum is cleared, anyone who is studying here can easily get recognised in Canada. IT is an area where Canada will benefit hugely from Kerala, which is strong in the area," added Daniel.
"Tourism and specifically eco-tourism and medical tourism are areas where Kerala could play a huge role because we will do the promotion of Kerala's strengths in Canada," he said. He further added, "There are quite a number of destinations which promote eco-tourism, which is one area that people in Canada would like to explore here because they pay a lot of money to watch birds."
"Medical tourism is another avenue because in Canada even though healthcare is free, patients have to wait a bit to get their turn for surgeries. So here also, Kerala will stand to benefit," said Daniel.
David George, an IT professional who originally hails from Kerala who was member of the delegation, said that there are opportunities here and Canada wishes to capitalise on it.