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Ahead of Modi's Berlin visit, Germany insists on India's FTA talk with EU

PM Modi is to visit Germany on May 29 and 30

Archis Mohan  |  New Delhi 

Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to media as he leaves after the ceremonial reception of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Photo: PTI)

urged on Tuesday to resume negotiations on the European Union (EU) - (FTA), especially in the context of not taking part in the One Belt One Road (OBOR) summit that China hosted earlier this month.

The other member countries are also hesitant to sign that trade declaration.

Prime Minister (PM) is set to visit on May 29 and May 30 for the fourth biannual India-inter-governmental consultations. 

The lack of progress on the EU-is likely to come up during Modi’s talks with German Chancellor in Berlin.

Not just because of OBOR-related strategic reasons, German Ambassador to New Delhi Martin Ney said the need for the EU-was so much greater now that New Delhi had terminated its Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), and there was no treaty protection under international law to future investments in and vice versa.

“If you want to shape globalisation, you do it by writing it into treaties,” Ney said, urging the European Commission and to “sit down as soon as possible” to negotiate the The Ambassador said the India-BIT expired in March. As a result, the existing investments from into or German investments into will be protected for 15 years under the old BIT, but the new investments will not have any protection until a fresh treaty is formalised.

has terminated bilateral investment treaties, or BITs, it had signed treaties with 58 countries, including  

New Delhi intends to renegotiate these BITs under its new BIT model. But, since members have entrusted the responsibility of BITs with EU, the new treaty will now need to be signed between and and not individual countries.

The German ambassador said that was a China-centred trade enhancement system. He said had not participated in the Summit, while member states have not signed to the trade declaration of “If both the and have certain hesitations about it, it should give us an extra incentive to sit down and resume negotiations on a free trade agreement,” Ney said.

The Ambassador pointed out that in the last India-inter-governmental consultations in New Delhi n 2015, both Modi and Merkel “spoke out strongly in favour of resuming negotiations between the and ” Ney said the was India’s largest trading partner.

The German Ambassador said and were set to sign several agreements during the PM’s visit to Berlin. 

These would cover areas of trade, investment, renewable energy, vocational training and strengthening defence cooperation. has also offered concessional finance to for building high speed railways.

The PM will be accompanied by a ministerial delegation from The PM will also inaugurate the Indo-German business forum to be attended by top German industrialists. Ney said appreciated Indian government’s efforts towards ensuring ‘ease of doing business’. The German Ambassador said German companies have invested Rs 53,000 crore in since 2010, with Rs 8,121 crore in 2016. He said 1,800 German companies were operating in was also India’s largest development partner and contributed Rs 7,000 crore aid to annually.

Ney said Berlin supports India’s aspiration to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group and other export control regimes. On the South China sea dispute, he said and Germany’s views converge on ensuring freedom of navigation in international waters. is highly interested in the Indian Ocean Region,” he added.

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