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Germany stresses on FTA between EU and India

NEW DELHI, Sept. 25 (UNI) Stressing upon the need for resuming negotiations for putting in place a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between European Union and India, German Ambassador In India Dr Martin Ney on Tuesday said that such an agreement would be beneficial for both the sides.

Addressing a press conference here along with Carl Martin Welcker, President of the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), the German envoy said there were “strong political signals’’ from both the sides in favour of FTA but the matter had not moved ahead.

Dr. Ney said that he had recently met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin where she pointed out that India was a very important partner and the FTA with EU was needed urgently.

“For economic, political and strategic reasons, a free trade agreement between EU as a n important bloc of nations and India is needed to be put in place, Sheer economies of scale will profit both the sides,’’ Dr Ney said.

He said that India has reduced its import duties and further eased processing with implementation of the GST reform and a FTA would enhance the competitiveness of the German mechanical engineering industry, especially against Asian competitors, which also opening the EU markets further for Indian industry.

“India and EU could counter protectionism, especially given the current situation in world trade,’’ the German Ambassador said.

VDMA President Mr. Welcker said that many of their members who wanted to make new investments in India or who were looking for a new site regularly reported huge difficulties in finding suitable premises. “The key obstacles are unclear ownership, high prices and the lack of available land. The issue of the land reform is still open,’’ he added.

He said that around 550 VDMA member companies with different branches and production facilities are already represented in various Indian regions. Direct investment in India by the German mechanical engineering sector was 1.2 billion Euros in 2016 – three times more than in 2008.

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