India is of the view that an early conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union will open up new economic opportunities for both sides, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said on Monday.

Briefing the media on the upcoming bilateral visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Berlin for the second round of inter-governmental consultations on April 10, the Foreign Secretary said, “Negotiations have reached an advance stage. I am informed that there will be another round of negotiations in Brussels perhaps around April 15 which is when they will be taken forward. We will certainly be discussing the matter with the German side. We expect a strong political thrust from Germany for an early conclusion of the agreement.”

He added that the conclusion of an agreement will also push forward trade with Germany which is India’s largest trading partner in the EU. During the Prime Minister’s visit, India and Germany will be concluding Memoranda of Understanding in a number of areas including education, science and technology and clean energy, the Foreign Secretary said.

Germany has been keen to support green energy corridors through renewable energy through the grid. “I believe there is a figure of €1 billion which is committed to support green energy corridors. These will be taken up case-by-case,” Mathai added.

On the issue of German companies coming here, India has also made a presentation to the German side on investment opportunities in India including in the field of infrastructure.

“The Managing Director of the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor was in Germany recently and made presentations on the scope of investment in the project,” Mathai said.

(This article was published on April 8, 2013)
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