India, Germany set ambitious trade target

December 12th, 2010 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Sarwar Kashani
Berlin, Dec 12 (IANS) India and Germany, economic powerhouses of Asia and Europe and “strategic partners”, have pledged to expand trade ties and increase the two-way business to 20 billion euros by 2012 - a quantum jump from the current 13 billion euros. Germany is India’s largest business partner in Europe. Following a meeting in snow-covered Berlin Saturday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed the hope that the trade target for the next two years will be achieved.

Chancellor Merkel told reporters that the bilateral ties between India and Germany were of “strategic nature” devoid of any trust deficit.

“Our partnership with India is of a strategic nature. Our goals are ambitious and there is no trust deficit, on the contrary we are cooperating very well,” Merkel said.

She said: “We have set ourselves ambitious goals. We want to increase bilateral trade volumes to 20 billion euros by 2012 (but) … much needs to be done.”

Recognising India’s rising economic power, Merkel said “India’s economy is growing and so I think we can do much to set things in motion.”

Manmohan Singh praised Merkel for “her personal guidance” in bringing the ties to a “happy state of affairs”, and said: “Despite the economic downturn, we are hopeful that the target of 20 billion euros by 2012 will be achieved.. Sky is the limit for our cooperation.”

He said there was a “vast untapped potential” for high technology trade between India and Germany - which is the world’s second largest exporter after China.

The prime minister asked the chancellor to relax export control laws for high tech trade. “I conveyed to Chancellor Merkel that relaxation of German export control laws will open new horizons for such trade. This will be to our mutual benefit,” said Manmohan Singh

Merkel said the two sides “have to take a step in the direction of each other” to diversify the economic ties.

“Everyone has to be ready to compromise. This is true for Europe and it is true for India,” she said, referring to the long-pending free trade agreement between India and the 27-nation European Union.

Manmohan Singh also said that India was interested in cooperating with Germany in the civilian use of nuclear energy.

“On the bilateral side, we deeply value Germany’s consistent support, including in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, for the opening of international commerce for India in the field of civil nuclear energy. We have discussed the possibilities of entering into bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energy,” he said.

He said said his meeting with Merkel also focused on promoting cooperation in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

India has an ambitious plan of generating 20,000 MW of nuclear power by 2020. It has signed civil nuclear agreements with France, the US, Russia, Canada and Britain.

On the UN reforms, the two leader said India and Germany will work “closely” both bilaterally and within the G-4 - India, Germany, Japan and Brazil, to enhance the effectiveness of the United Nations Security Council, as well as in support of the expansion of the permanent and non-permanent categories of its membership.

On the Indi-EU crucial free trade agreement, Merkel said that “major progress” had been achieved towards making the FTA a reality.

The two sides are struggling to make the key trade pact a reality. They have set the dateline of March April 2011 to square the deal after many rounds of talks since 2007.

But officials have confessed that some problems remain in finalising the pact that is expected to ramp up the two-way business volume between India and EU to 100 billion euros from 77 billion euros presently.

The Indian prime minister was in Berlin on a day-long visit after attending the 11th EU-India summit in Brussels Friday, during which they announced a near-breakthrough in four years of stalled talks over the trade agreement.

(Sarwar Kashani can be contacted at

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