Germany today pitched for immediate resumption of negotiations between India and European Union on the long-pending free trade agreement and sought a “modern” investment protection pact under its framework.
German Ambassador to India Martin Ney said the FTA will significantly enhance trade ties between India and EU and will also help in boosting Indo-German economic engagement.
He said both the sides must resume the negotiations immediately for the FTA and try to incorporate a modern investment protection agreement to ensure “legal certainty” and business environment for investments.
“If we, the countries that believe in democracy, economic freedom, progress if we aren’t joining hands in shaping globalisation, sitting down and spelling out standards and writing it into FTAs then in the future somebody else will do it 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 to intellectual property rights (IPR), data security for IT services and tariff in the automobile sector. The last round of talks on the FTA was held in May, 2013.
The EU has been maintaining that it was ready to show flexibility on all major issues that have stalled the talks as the FTA will be a “win-win deal” for both the sides. The EU was also looking at insurance, banking and retail as major areas for economic engagement with India.
Launched in June 2007, the negotiations for the proposed FTA have witnessed many hurdles as both the sides have major differences on crucial issues.
“We wish now to conclude an up-to-date Investment Protection Agreement with India. This is supposed to be done within the framework of the FTA that the (European) Commission has already been negotiating. In order to get there we need the resumption of FTA talks,” Ney said.
Talking about ease of doing business, he said both Germany and India have the same interest in having a better environment for investment. “India and Germany have the same interest in improving ease of doing business in India because it is a crucial to improving growth and trade.”
“It is of course not only up to the Indian government but up to the whole government system in India, including the judiciary because legal protection is crucial for investment from both sides.”
On EU-India ties, he said Germany strongly felt that the FTA will be in the interest of “both of us”.
“Let me just say that …when we talk about resumption of FTA negotiations with part of society I find a protectionist reflex that is hovering in discussions,” he said.