India, EU free trade pact by end of 2012

 Germany expects India to conclude its free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union by the end of 2012, despite the economic gloom the world over, to send out a strong signal that the two sides mean business, German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner said here Saturday.

A day after presenting his credentials to President Pratibha Patil, the envoy said Germany and India are all set to achieve their target of €20 billion ($24.4 billion) bilateral trade by the end of this year.

“I am very much looking forward that what the (Indian) commerce minister (Anand Sharma) envisaged with his European Commission colleague to have the European Union-India free trade agreement by the end of this year,” Steiner told reporters here.

The free trade agreement  the envoy said, will cover a very broad spectrum including insurance and automobiles to everything else.

European Union is India’s largest trading partner and Germany the largest European trading partner.

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