Fast-track wing activated to boost India-German trade

It is one of the initiatives to smoothen business ties

October 06, 2015 02:03 am | Updated November 16, 2021 03:55 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel being accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Photo: V. Sudershan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel being accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Photo: V. Sudershan

Germany welcomed India’s decision to set up a fast-track system for German companies in the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The wing, which will become fully operational by 2016, found prompt appreciation from the visiting German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who said: “I was very glad we were able to sign the fast-track agreement today so that the speed with which you provide licences to companies to set up business is increased.” The exclusive special window for Germany will be the second since a similar wing was created for Japan after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan in September 2014.

Declaring this special wing at the end of the Inter-Governmental Consultations, the trade-heavy joint statement repeatedly drew attention to the business ties between the two countries. The fast-track mechanism was one of the several initiatives declared to smoothen business ties. To encourage stronger business ethics, both sides entered into an agreement to train corporate executives and junior executives. Several such smoothening measures in the joint statement and the list of agreements have produced the impression that the Germans are anxious about India delivering on the promise of growth and development under Mr. Modi. “Challenges remain on the trade front that we are working to resolve,” Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar told journalists, at the end of the day-long diplomacy.

German observers, however, told The Hindu that there was a “definite disconnect” between the Indian and German interlocutors on trade. German journalist and commentator Britta Peterson currently with Observer Research Foundation said the German industrial class was not impressed with the business climate in India. “Though top German investors expected affairs of business to change under Mr. Modi, they are disappointed that the same has not happened so far,” she told The Hindu .

Highlighting the sticking point between two sides, Mr. Jaishankar pointed out that Mr. Modi “requested Chancellor Merkel that the restrictions placed on 700 Indian pharma products be revised.” The issue of restrictions on the marketing of generic medicines has been snowballing over the last year since the EU drug regulator, European Medicines Agency (EMA), recommended suspension of the sale of the drugs manufactured by GVK Biosciences, citing manipulated lab test results.

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