India hopes for progress on EU free-trade deal
Germany and India are hoping for quick progress in talks on a free-trade deal between New Delhi and the European Union, their foreign ministers said Monday.
"It is in our German, our European interests to comprehensively establish and strategically expand our ties with this new powerhouse, this important power, India," Germany's Guido Westerwelle said after talks in Berlin with his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid.
"We want to further open up our economic relations. A free-trade agreement between the EU and India would be a big step in our mutual interest to boost growth and prosperity in Europe and India. That is why we both as foreign ministers are working for progress in the talks."
Khurshid said India was also keen to make headway in the negotiations.
"I've urged his excellency to work with us towards an early conclusion of a broad-based EU-India trade and investment agreement, which will... become the bedrock of fulfilling many dreams of our industry and our young people," he said.
Khurshid said India was seeking from German firms in particular "large investments... particularly in the manufacturing and the infrastructure sectors and also the renewable energies sector where Germany is already taking great strides in our country."
Germany and India are to hold a bilateral meeting of most of their cabinets in Berlin in April, two years after the first such meeting in New Delhi chaired by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The EU has wrapped up free-trade deals with around 30 countries including Mediterranean nations, South Africa and South Korea and has ongoing talks with the Mercosur countries of South America, Canada and India. Negotiations with the United States are to begin soon.
© 2013 AFP