India, Germany to fast-track investment, revive EU-FTA talks

New Delhi: India has decided to fast-track investments from Germany by making it easier for German firms to get approvals and do business here, while the two countries also committed to soon resume negotiations for the stalled India-EU free trade pact. To enhance economic ties, the two countries also renewed their determination to expand bilateral trade and investment.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in India on a three-day visit, welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “commitment to improve the ease of doing business in India and the Indian decision to set up a fast-track system for German companies in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP)”.

It will fully operationalised by March 2016, said a joint statement issued after a meeting between the two leaders and the third Inter-Governmental Consultations here between the two sides.

On the stalled talks on the proposed Free Trade Agreement between India and the European Union (EU), both the sides underlined their “strong commitment to the EU-India Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement and committed to bring about a resumption of the negotiations as soon as possible”.

After 14 rounds of talks till May 2013, India in August this year expressed disappointment and concern over the EU banning sale of around 700 pharma products clinically tested by GVK Biosciences and deferred talks for the proposed free trade agreement.

The FTA talks were first launched in June 2007 and have missed several deadlines. “Both sides noted the potential of open markets for deepening trade relations and for attracting investments. They agreed to work closely towards achieving substantive outcomes in the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in December in Nairobi, in conformity with the development mandate of the Doha Round and to bring the Doha Round to a conclusion,” it said.

The two countries also encouraged the private sector to take advantage of these initiatives to enhance trade and investment.

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