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Keen interest in completing Indo-EU FTA: German envoy

SME Times News Bureau | 04 Oct, 2012

Keen interest in completing Indo-EU FTA: German envoy

The German envoy to India Wednesday said the business communities of both countries have shown tremendous interest in completing the India -European Union (EU) free trade agreement (FTA).

"I have seen tremendous interest from the business communities of both sides on completion of the FTA. Both sides endorsed the need to put in a final effort to fulfill the modalities," Germany’s Ambassador to India Michael Steiner said here.

Steiner recently attended Indo-EU business delegation, which is advising their respective governments on the completion of FTA.

The ambassador was addressing the media on the eve of the national reunification (unity) day of Germany. The erstwhile East and West Germanies were reunited on Oct 3, 1990.

Steiner said that the negativity surrounding the investment environment in India can also be resolved with an early agreement on the FTA between India and the European Union (EU).

"Europe is facing problems, India is also facing certain challenges. These issues can be addressed if an early resolution is found on FTA. A strong Europe as the largest trading partner of India is good for you and a strong India is good for us," said Steiner.

The ambassador also elaborated efforts being made by EU countries for resolving the European debt crisis, including the use of two major instruments like the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the Fiscal Compact.

"Europe’s fundamentals are pretty strong and studies have shown that some European countries are the most competitive in the world. We have come far and taken certain measures like ESM and Fiscal Compact. There is also a financial umbrella worth $1 trillion," Steiner added.

The ESM provides for buying up to 780 billion Euros (around $1 trillion) sovereign bonds of euro zone countries which are under financial stress. The Fiscal Compact envisages a singular economic governance policy for the euro zone including monetary policy, and further integration.

Steiner said Indo-German trade will reach the Euro 20 billion-mark by end of 2012 despite the current Euro-zone crises.

Major German automobile manufacturers like Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen Group are present in the country. They have achieved healthy growth numbers, while the rest of the Indian auto industry faced a downturn.

Apart from automobiles, technology company Siemens, airline major Lufthansa and many other companies are present in the Indian market.

The envoy added that India and Germany had a lot of mutual interest areas like safety and security.

 source: SME Times