Firmly committed to economic growth: PM
India, Germany agree on concluding India-EU FTA this year Berlin (PTI): Prime Minister Mamohan Singh on Friday left for home after his three-day...
India, Germany agree on concluding India-EU FTA this year
Berlin (PTI): Prime Minister Mamohan Singh on Friday left for home after his three-day visit here during which key issues like India-EU FTA were discussed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel articulating the impediments in inking of the pact.
India and Germany during the day set a target of concluding the long-awaited India-EU Free Trade Agreement this year, notwithstanding a number of unresolved issues and BJP's demand for Parliamentary scrutiny of this "highly controversial" move.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a joint statement here underlined "their strong commitment to a successful outcome to the EU-India negotiations for a broad-based, ambitious and balanced Free Trade Agreement that will generate jobs and growth in both countries and their hope for final agreement in 2013.
" The statement was issued at the conclusion of Singh's 3- day visit during which he pressed Germany, Europe's biggest economy, to provide a "strong political thrust" for inking of a broad-based Bilateral Investment and Trade Agreement (BITA) with the 27-nation European block.
The hope for concluding the FTA this year was voiced despite Merkel having candidly admitted yesterday that the two sides are yet to overcome "all the difficulties", as she pressed for an increase in the foreign equity cap in India's insurance sector and reduction in tariffs on import of automobiles from Europe.
Pitching for investments from Germany and other countries, Prime Minister Singh made it clear during the trip that government's resolve to boost economic growth remains "unwavering". India and Germany also inked about six key MoUs including that for putting together Euro seven million for next four years towards joint research in the field of higher education and a pact for a soft loan of Euro one billion for strengthening the green energy corridor in India.
Singh was accompanied by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah, Human Resource Development Minister M Pallam Raju and Science and Technology Minister Jaipal Reddy.
While a number of issues figured during the discussions held between the two sides, the long pending India-EU FTA was one of the main focus. Germany pressed India to hike the foreign equity cap in the insurance sector and reduce tariffs on import of automobiles as a prelude to the India-EU Free Trade Agreement.