German Ambassador Martin Ney

FTA with India Close to Merkel's heart: German Ambassador Martin Ney

Happenings October 03, 2015

Expressing optimism over revival of talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU), German Ambassador Martin Ney said that continuation of discussion will be a foremost issue during the upcoming two-day visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to India from October 4-6, 2015. The ambassador said that this issue is ‘close to her (Angela Merkel) heart’.

Reportedly, India made an exit from the FTA talks in August after EU banned the import of 700 Indian generic drugs over alleged manoeuvring of clinical trials.

Discrepancies over the lack of access for Indian professionals to EU’s labour market, and elevated tax imposed on liquor and car imports from Europe have discouraged efforts to reach an agreement to enhance trade between India and the EU.

Merkel, who will be arriving in New Delhi on October 4, will be holding talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 5 on a wide range of subjects under the framework of the Indo-German Intergovernmental Consultations (IGC). She will be accompanied by six senior German cabinet ministers and a large business delegation that will be present at the India-Germany business meet. Those from the cabinet include Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel, Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Muller, Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Minister for Defence Ursua von der Leyen.

This will be the third meeting between the two leaders in 2015.

“It’s only Germany with which India shares such kind of comprehensive format of cooperation in different areas of strategic importance. Although I can’t disclose the precise details, agreements will cover all the major areas that support India’a development agenda such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Clean Ganga’ and ‘Smart Cities’,” Ambassador Martin Ney said.

On the sidelines of the Intergovernmental Consultations, the Chancellor’s business delegation and Indian business leaders will attend the Business Summit in New Delhi.

In Bengaluru, on October 6, the focus will primarily be on business relations. Chancellor Merkel will meet with representatives of several German companies that have a strong presence in Bengaluru, employ many young Indians and contribute to ‘Make in India’ as well as ‘Digital India’. However, troubled German car maker Volkswagen, involved in a scandal over rigging of diesel emissions tests in the US, will not be among the business delegation with Merkel.

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