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Germany pushes for early conclusion of India-EU FTA

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 23:50

New Delhi: Germany on Wednesday pushed for an early conclusion of the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA), saying it will be mutually beneficial and in line with the current reforms of the Indian government.

The two sides need to shift to a final effort to get the FTA done. "It (FTA) is in interest of Europe and India," German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner told reporters here while replying to a query.

The 27-member block EU consists of countries like Germany, France, Austria, Spain, Greece and Italy.

He added the FTA would flank in a marvellous way the current reforms of the Indian government.

The India-EU free trade agreement, officially dubbed as the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), seeks to sharply reduce tariffs on goods and liberalise services and investments provisions.

The talks for the agreement were to conclude in 2011 but differences between the two sides on the level of opening of the market delayed the BTIA.

The two-way trade stood at USD 91.3 billion in 2010-11. A Ficci report said that trade between the two sides is likely to more than double to exceed USD 207 billion by 2015, if the trade pact is formalised.

The country and its largest trading partner, the 27- nation EU, aim to slash duties on over 90 per cent of the trade under the proposed pact.

On implementation of FDI in multi-brand retail, Steiner said, the overall reform policy as it is defined by the Indian government is defined as something in the interest of India.

"I think that should guide us and now if it happens to be in the interest of all which it is often is all the better," he said.

Exuding confidence that Europe will emerge as stronger after the bailout package, Steiner said, "A strengthened Europe is good for India as European Union is India's largest trading partner and also we also want a strong, healthy and prosper India."

Talking about the India-Germany relationship, he said, "I think it is fantastic. I must say that we have the trust bonus. I sometimes have the feeling, we have so constructive, positive sentiments from India towards Germany and the other way round from Germany towards India".

He added the two countries have the potential to work together in various areas.

However, he said, "The only thing I have to complain, in relationship between India and Germany, is that we have not yet fully exploited the potential that we have. The sky is the limit."


First Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 22:54
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