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Indo-German trade target at $10 b

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The German Chancellor, Mr Gerhard Schroeder, flanked by the FICCI President, Mr Y. K. Modi (left), and the CII President, Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, at a business session in the Capital on Wednesday. — Kamal Narang

New Delhi , Oct. 6

INDIA and Germany have resolved to enhance their annual bilateral trade to $10 billion in the medium-term from the current level of $5.4 billion achieved in 2003-04.

This bilateral trade target was mentioned by the Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Kamal Nath, when a high-level business delegation led by Dr Staffelt, Parliament State Secretary of the German Federation of the Ministry of Economy and Labour, called on him here on Wednesday.

Stressing the need for further expansion of trade and economic cooperation between India and Germany, Mr Kamal Nath said that the Indian Government would play an enabling and facilitating role to help businesses on both sides take advantage of the liberalised trade and investment regime.

In this context, he also said that India has a unique advantage in services sector in terms of a very large pool of skilled human resources. This combined with Germany's technological skills could give a major push to bilateral ties, Mr Kamal Nath said.

The Commerce Minister had detailed interaction with Dr Staffelt and his accompanying team representing a wide cross-section of German business enterprises in areas such as media, aviation, consultancy, insurance, food processing, hydro-power plants, textile and agricultural machinery.

Meanwhile, the German Chancellor, Mr Gerhard Schroeder, said that India was now at the top of agenda for German companies and assured Indian industry that Germany would invest in India, while addressing the Indian industry in a session organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here on Wednesday.

He pointed out the entertainment industry and the infrastructure sector as potential areas, where German companies would be keen to invest.

The Chancellor, who is accompanied by a 22-member business delegation, said a large contingent of Germany's small and medium enterprises, or `Mittelstand,' would visit India early next year to explore investment opportunities, according to a CII statement.

He said the German Mittelstand, a backbone for his country accounting for 70 per cent of the jobs, would be a fair partner to India and not only seek to sell its products, but also bring state-of-the-art technology.

He said that it was time India and Germany aimed at a $10-billion trade figure, given the synergy and potential that existed between the two nations.

Mr Schroeder arrived here on Wednesday, kicking off a tour of India, Pakistan, Vietnam and Afghanistan to explore opportunities for German industry among Asia's fast-growing economies.

During his visit, he will be inaugurating a facility of Munich-based Giesecke & Devrient, which has technology for printing bank notes, bonds, chip cards and smart cards.

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