Posts tagged ‘Stephen Harper’

19/04/2015

Entrepreneurship in India: Ready, steady, go | The Economist

IN 2013, when foreign capital suddenly rushed out of emerging markets, India was one of the worst-affected countries. There were plenty of reasons for investors to panic. GDP growth had slumped. The public finances were a mess. And inflation was hovering around 10%. A year earlier a power cut had plunged hundreds of millions of Indians into darkness.

It is a testament to the country’s enduring promise that within a year investors were once again scrambling for a stake in its future—this time tempted by the pro-growth promises of Narendra Modi, who won a resounding victory in elections last May. India’s population rivals China’s in size, but has a far younger complexion. That India is so much poorer in most other regards seems only to add to its allure. Those who missed out on China’s boom might still catch the wave in India.

“Restart” by Mihir Sharma, a columnist for the Delhi-based Business Standard, is a reliable and readable guide to India’s stop-start economy. It is admirably clear on what has to change if India is to taste the high living standards enjoyed in other parts of Asia. Each year 13m Indians join the workforce. Jobs must be found for them. But the giant factories that hummed with baby-boomers in other places are scarce in India, because it is so difficult to do business there.

Mr Sharma applies regular doses of rueful humour as he explains why some of the toughest job-protection laws in the world have ensured that there are few decent jobs in India. The jokes are a necessary feature in a book that contains as many unpalatable truths as this one. They are also a mask for the author’s anger at India’s poverty, at the nation’s failure to match the development of its Asian neighbours and at the self-delusion of its policymakers. “It’s almost as if we genuinely believe all the lies about ourselves we tell foreign investors,” he writes.

Mr Sharma is at his funniest (or angriest) when listing the ludicrous regulations that business must adhere to. Complying with them all is impossible, so officials routinely extort bribes for breaches. Businesses are required, among many other things, to keep an abstract of the 1948 Factories Act to hand. Pass it to a visiting labour inspector, allow him a moment to reflect and “he will find a violation”, notes Mr Sharma. The wisecrack has a painful sting. To avoid a shakedown, businesses stay tiny and inefficient. And India remains poor and woefully short of decent jobs.

Where did India go wrong? Mr Sharma picks the leftward lurch in 1969—when Indira Gandhi nationalised banks to outflank opponents in her own party—as a moment when things shifted. Manmohan Singh’s famed budget of July 1991 was badly flawed because the reforms it contained were incomplete. Mr Singh opened up goods markets to competition but did nothing to free markets for land, labour and capital. A ban on selling farmland to industry remains; labour inspectors can still prey on factory owners; and without a bankruptcy law, capital stays trapped in dying firms. New factories could not readily spring up to compete with imports, and manufacturing has been in relative decline since the mid-1990s.

Mr Sharma thinks factories can still be India’s salvation. But manufacturing-led growth has become harder to pull off. Modern factories use more machinery and less labour than in the past. While India was making half-hearted reforms, China was securing its position in global supply chains. It is now tougher for aspiring nations such as India to break in. It is perhaps for this reason that others look for hope in India’s vibrant services sector. Hindol Sengupta is one such author. His “Recasting India” is a paean to the commercial flair of millions of hawkers and small shopkeepers plying for trade in India. Yet the small-scale service enterprises celebrated by Mr Sengupta are a developmental dead end. They are a sign of economic weakness and not vitality, as Mr Sharma rightly argues. Small traders seem less impressive in other countries only because the best entrepreneurs have been able to grow bigger.

via Entrepreneurship in India: Ready, steady, go | The Economist.

Advertisements
16/04/2015

The Statesman: Roadmap for India-Canada free trade pact by Sept: Modi

India and Canada on Wednesday expressed commitment to have a free trade pact, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying a roadmap will be laid for the market opening agreement by September.

title=

Modi said the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) will also be concluded soon.

“I am confident that we can conclude the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement very soon.

“We will also implement the roadmap to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement by September 2015,” he said at a joint press conference with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper.

He said Canada has the potential to partner India’s economic transformation and “it exists in a new environment in India which is open, predictable, stable and easy to do business in”.

Prime Minister Harper and I are absolutely committed to establishing a new framework for economic partnership. I am pleased that we have made rapid progress on long-pending agreements,” Modi said.

On the free trade pact, Harper said there are many issues in this to be resolved, but “we are committed to see it through”.

Harper further said there was no reason why Canada should not have a free trade pact with India which “is a vibrant democracy. Nothing precludes that”.

The Canadian Prime Minister said while the trade between the two countries has increased, “it is still not as much as it should be”.

He expressed confidence that nuclear agreement signed today with India will raise the bilateral trade volume further.

The bilateral trade increased to USD 5.18 billion in 2013-14 from USD 4.83 billion in previous year.

via The Statesman: Roadmap for India-Canada free trade pact by Sept: Modi.

09/12/2012

* Canada OK’s foreign energy takeovers, but slams door on any more

China acquires more natural resources.

Reuters: “Canada approved China’s biggest ever foreign takeover on Friday, a $15.1 billion bid by state-controlled CNOOC Ltd for energy company Nexen Inc., but drew a line in the sand against future buys by state-owned enterprises.

A man walks into the Nexen building in downtown Calgary, Alberta, July 23, 2012. REUTERS/Todd Korol

In a fierce defense of a tough, new foreign investment framework, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada would not deliver control of the oil sands – the world’s third-largest proven reserves of crude – to a foreign government.

The ruling, anxiously awaited by investors and politicians alike, followed months of heated debate about how much of Canada’s energy sector could and should be absorbed by companies run by other nations.

The bid triggered unusually open dissent among legislators in the ruling right-of-center Conservatives, many of whom were particularly nervous about the idea of allowing China to gain control of the oil sands.

Canada said yes to this deal, but will not do so next time.

“To be blunt, Canadians have not spent years reducing the ownership of sectors of the economy by our own governments, only to see them bought and controlled by foreign governments instead,” Harper told reporters after Ottawa gave the deal the green light, along with approval for the less controversial takeover of gas company Progress Energy Resources Corp by another state-owned energy company, Petronas of Malaysia.

“Foreign state control of oil sands development has reached the point at which further such foreign state control would not be of net benefit to Canada,” he added.”

via Canada OK’s foreign energy takeovers, but slams door on any more | Reuters.

See also: https://chindia-alert.org/2012/02/13/pattern-of-chinese-overseas-investments/

07/11/2012

* India and Canada finalise conditions of nuclear deal

BBC: “India and Canada have finalised the terms for their nuclear deal, paving the way for Canadian firms to export uranium to India.

Electricity cable in India

Once implemented, the deal is likely to provide a boost to India’s plans to increase its nuclear capacity to meet growing energy demands.

The deal was agreed in 2010, but there had been differences over supervision of the use of uranium in India.

Canada has banned the trade of nuclear materials with India since 1976.

“Canada with its large and high quality reserves of uranium could become an important supplier to the Indian nuclear power programme,” India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper said in a joint statement.

‘Important economic opportunity’

India’s economy has seen rapid expansion in recent years resulting in a surge in demand for energy in the country.

In a bid to meet its growing energy needs, India has been looking to increase its dependence on nuclear energy.

It is planning to set up some 30 reactors over as many years and get a quarter of its electricity from nuclear energy by 2050.

As a result it has been looking to secure supplies of uranium to achieve that target.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that being able to be a part of India’s nuclear power plans was “a really important economic opportunity for an important Canadian industry… that should pay dividends in terms of jobs and growth for Canadians down the road”.

Earlier this month, India agreed to begin negotiations on a civil nuclear co-operation agreement with Australia, which holds an estimated 40% of the world’s uranium.

Last year, it agreed a deal that will allow South Korea to export its nuclear energy technology to India.”

via BBC News – India and Canada finalise conditions of nuclear deal.

See also: 

Law of Unintended Consequences

continuously updated blog about China & India

ChiaHou's Book Reviews

continuously updated blog about China & India

What's wrong with the world; and its economy

continuously updated blog about China & India