Germany, India vow to boost trade, cement ties

14:37, December 12, 2010      

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a press conference after their meeting in Berlin, Germany, Dec. 11, 2010. The leaders of Germany and India pledged Saturday to expand bilateral trade by more than 50 percent in the next two years, while intensifying cooperation on transfer of high technology and the United Nations reform. (Xinhua/Luo Huanhuan)
The leaders of Germany and India pledged Saturday to expand bilateral trade by more than 50 percent in the next two years, while intensifying cooperation on transfer of high technology and the United Nations reform.

"We have set ambitious goals, for example, to increase foreign trade to 20 billion euros (26.5 billion U.S. dollars) by 2012," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters after meeting Indian Premier Manmohan Singh in Berlin.

"The trade volume has reached around 13 billion (euros) today . .. there is much to be done in the next two years, but India has a growing economy,"she said.

"Despite the economic downturn, we are hopeful that the target of 20 billion euros by 2012 will be achieved,"Singh echoed. "Only the sky is the limit for our cooperation."

The Indian premier hoped that Germany could relax export control on high technology, saying that there was "vast untapped potential"for such trade between the two countries.

Merkel said that there was no trust deficit between each other, on the contrary, the two nations are cooperating closely on this issue.

Singh stressed that the economic stability of Europe is vital for a balanced global recovery, adding that he believed "whatever problems face the euro zone, it will emerge unscathed."

The two leaders also vowed to push forward together the structural reform of the UN, with a view to seeking permanent seats in the Security Council.

Germany and India would also enhance cooperation on higher education and renewable energy and energy efficiency, the two leaders said.

Singh announced that the two counties will organize "a Year of Germany" in India next year to mark 60 years of diplomatic relations, and Merkel will visit India at the same time.

Before going to Germany, Singh attended the 11th EU-India summit in Brussels on Friday. Officials said after four years of negotiations, the two sides were closer to reach a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), aimed at scrapping 90 percent of current tariffs between the two major economies of the world.

Turning to the treaty, Merkel said "both sides have to take a step in the direction of each other and be ready to compromise."

Singh is also to meet German President Christian Wulff before going back to India on Sunday.


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