Germany has emerged as the top trading partner of India within Europe with around $23.8 billion or 18.3 billion euro turnover during 2011-12, according to the latest figures of the Commerce and Industry Ministry.
Speaking about this, German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner said the figures showed clearly that the Indo-German trade relations were at an all-time high. “Within the European Union, Germany remains in the pole position for trade with India. This is welcome news for both our countries. The figures also show that trade between India and Europe is at an all-time high. The potential to further increase the economic ties between Europe and India is immense. We should make full use of it,” he added.
Mr. Stiener said conclusion of the currently negotiated Free Trade and Investment Agreement between the European Union and India in due time would be a tremendous boost for both economies. “It would also be the right signal to the international markets in times of crisis,” he added.
Germany has been pushing for an early conclusion of the India-EU free trade agreement (FTA) saying it will be mutually beneficial and in line with the current reforms of the Union Government. “The two sides need to shift to a final effort to get the FTA done. The FTA is in the interest of Europe and India,” Mr. Steiner had said recently.
The India-EU free trade agreement, officially dubbed as the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), seeks to sharply reduce tariffs on goods and liberalise services and investment provisions. Talks for the agreement were to conclude in 2011 but differences between the two sides on the level of opening of the market delayed the BTIA. The two-way trade stood at $91.3 billion in 2010-11. A recent FICCI report said that trade between the two sides was likely to more than double to exceed $207 billion by 2015, if the trade pact was formalised.
Mr. Steiner said the only complaint he had with India-German relationship was that they had not been able to fully exploit the huge potential the two nations hold. “The sky is the limit,” he said.