India, Germany hold huge potential for cooperation, says Pranab Mukherjee

Posted By: Mamatha
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New Delhi, Sep.23 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Thursday that India and Germany hold tremendous potential for cooperation between them in various sectors including bio-technology, infrastructure development, telecom and health care among others.

Addressing the 17th Session of Indo-German Joint Commission Meeting on industrial and economic cooperation in the national capital today, the Finance Minister said

He said today's meeting of the joint commission will give an opportunity for both the countries to identify their strengths as well as bottlenecks for making the process smoother in the coming months. This would give an impetus to our delegations to enhance their engagement to their full potential.

While giving a brief account on the recent developments in the Indian economy, Mr. Mukherjee said, "Our economy has grown by 8.8 per cent in the first quarter of this current financial year due to an upswing in the manufacturing sector and a better farm output of 2.8 per cent."

Stating that the Joint Working Groups under the Joint Commission have increased from three to seven, Mr, Mukherjee said, it indicates that both India and Germany have expanded their areas of cooperation.

Vocational training and agriculture have emerged as key areas of collaboration, the Finance Minister added.

Rainer Bruderle, the German Minister of Economics and Technology, on the occasion, said that there was a great scope for investment by Indian industries in Germany and vice-versa.

He said that both the countries have come out of the recent international financial crisis successfully and have greater scope of cooperation in the field of energy including renewable energy and infrastructure sector among others.

r. Mukherjee in his address said, "Our relationship in the field of trade and economics is one of the most dynamic facets of our bilateral partnership. Germany is India's largest trade partner in Europe."

"During the visit of Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2007, both sides set a trade target of Euro 20 billion to be achieved by 2012. Despite the economic crisis, I understand that we are on track to achieve this target by 2012," he added.

He said in terms of Foreign Direct Investments(FDIs) inflows into India in 2009, Germany was the eighth largest investor with inflows of 599.93 million dollars.

Mr. Mukherjee underlined that Indian investment into Germany has also increased in recent years. Indian FDI inflows into Germany, measured in terms of equity capital, increased from Euro 3 million to Euro 33 million during 2004-2008.

"Several Indian companies have purchased companies in Germany and I understand that they employ nearly 12000 people, mostly Germans, and thereby contribute significantly to the German economy," he stated.

In terms of Foreign Direct Investment, Mr. Mukherjee said, "FDI upto 100 per cent is allowed under the automatic route in most of the sectors/activities. Our policy has been liberalized progressively by allowing more industries under the automatic route. Only very few sectors are prohibited for FDI."

"The Government has further simplified FDI procedures in March 2010. From April 1, 2010, a consolidated policy on Foreign Direct Investment has been brought out by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion which is available in the website. It is the objective of the Government to promote foreign direct investment through a policy framework which is transparent, predictable, simple and clear and reduces regulator's burden," he stated.

"However, I feel that we have not yet reached our full potential," he said while adding that "Tremendous potential exists for cooperation in various sectors such as bio-technology, infrastructure development, telecom, healthcare etc. I hope that today's meeting will give us an opportunity to identify our strengths as well as the bottlenecks so that the process becomes smoother in the coming months." (ANI)

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