Germany pitches for resumption of Indo-EU FTA talks

New Delhi, Sep 20(PTI)Germany today pitched for immediateresumption of negotiations between India and European Union onthe long-pending free trade agreement and sought a "modern"investment protection pact under its framework. German Ambassador to India Martin Ney said the FTA willsignificantly enhance trade ties between India and EU and willalso help in boosting Indo-German economic engagement. He said both the sides must resume the negotiationsimmediately for the FTA and try to incorporate a moderninvestment protection agreement to ensure "legal certainty"and business environment for investments. "If we, the countries that believe in democracy, economicfreedom, progress if we aren’t joining hands in shapingglobalisation, sitting down and spelling out standards andwriting it into FTAs then in the future somebody else will doit for us," Ney told reporters. The envoy pressed India for resumption of the FTA talks. The talks on FTA are stuck on sticky issues relating tointellectual property rights (IPR), data security for ITservices and tariff in the automobile sector. The last roundof talks on the FTA was held in May, 2013. The EU has been maintaining that it was ready to showflexibility on all major issues that have stalled the talks asthe FTA will be a "win-win deal" for both the sides. The EUwas also looking at insurance, banking and retail as majorareas for economic engagement with India. Launched in June 2007, the negotiations for the proposedFTA have witnessed many hurdles as both the sides have majordifferences on crucial issues. "We wish now to conclude an up-to-date InvestmentProtection Agreement with India. This is supposed to be donewithin the framework of the FTA that the (European) Commissionhas already been negotiating. In order to get there we needthe resumption of FTA talks," Ney said. Talking about ease of doing business, he said bothGermany and India have the same interest in having a betterenvironment for investment. "India and Germany have the sameinterest in improving ease of doing business in India becauseit is a crucial to improving growth and trade." "It is of course not only up to the Indian government butup to the whole government system in India, including thejudiciary because legal protection is crucial for investmentfrom both sides." On EU-India ties, he said Germany strongly felt that theFTA will be in the interest of "both of us". "Let me just say that …when we talk about resumption ofFTA negotiations with part of society I find a protectionistreflex that is hovering in discussions," he said. PTI JC MPBRT

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