Germany supports India's stand against protectionism

Both Germany and India are together in the fight against protectionism, German minister of Economics and Technology Rainer Bruederle said here.

Speaking at the 17th session of the Indo-German Joint Commission on Industrial and Economic Cooperation here, he said: "Free trade...free movement of capital, labour and technology are the only ways for successful globalisation."

The state of Ohio is the US had last month banned offshore outsourcing by government departments. Earlier, the US increased professional visa fees significantly to fund a USD 600 million programme to secure its border with Mexico.

Bruederle also said that Germany would take the lead to help formulate a Free Trade Agreement between India and the European Union.

The economic powerhouse of Europe also called for more investments from the Indian business houses in Germany.

"Germany will take the lead (in the FTA negotiations). It will take effort but we will manage it."

The Indian government had earlier exuded confidence of completing the FTA with the 27-member EU by end of this year.

The German minister also called for more Indian investments in his country.
"Indian money is most welcome in Germany. The doors are open. Please come," Bruederle said.

He cited the example of wind energy giant Suzlon which took over Germany's REpower Systems AG in three phases between 2007 and 2009 at a value of euro 270 million.

Indian equity investment in Germany is currently of only around Euro 33 million annually.

During the 2007 visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to New Delhi, the two countries had decided to increase their bilateral trade to euro 20 billion by 2012. The annual trade between India and Germany in 2009 was euro 13 billion.

Bruederle said that after a phase of downturn the German economy is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent this year.

"Growth will pick up by autumn. We expect the GDP to grow by 2.5 per cent, twice as fast as we had predicted in the beginning of the year," he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee exuded optimism that German investment to India will touch the euro one billion mark soon.

"Germany is the eighth largest investor in India. Their investment in India is currently around euro 600 million annually. We hope the euro one billion figure will be reached," he said.

Mukherjee said sectors like biotechnology, pharma, telecom, infrastructure, tourism and energy resources have potential for joint cooperation.

He, however, called upon the German government to have more flexibility in the matter of issuing visas and work permits to Indians.

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