Merkel arrives today, focus on investment and market access
As German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives with a galaxy of some of the world’s most powerful business leaders on a three-day India visit beginning on Sunday, inbound investment and greater market access are set to get a major policy push.
For the first time, India is expected to unveil a special clearance mechanism to facilitate investments coming from Germany and the European Union, sources said. The announcement set to be made on Monday will likely be a one-of-its-kind single-window mechanism.
“This has been approved by the PMO and commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman will unveil it. It will help boost investments and be part of an investor-friendly environment,” a source said.
On the table will be a 10-point agenda ranging from the teaching of Sanskrit in German schools and trade talks to issues related to further market access in automobiles, pharmaceuticals, vocational training, green energy, river cleaning, defence and aerospace, infrastructure modernisation, insurance, smart cities and intellectual property rights.
Merkel will be in Delhi on Sunday and Monday for inter-government deliberations and in Bangalore on Tuesday to interact with industry leaders. Her cabinet colleagues will meet their Indian counterparts in finance, commerce and industry, foreign affairs, defence and education.
Merkel’s visit comes six months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Germany in April for the Hannover Messe Fair and will feature 20 high-profile industry representatives, including Thomas Enders, CEO of Airbus Group, Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens, Lutz Bertling, president of Bombardier Transportation, Jurgen Fitschen, CEO of Deutsche Bank, and Hans-Georg Krabbe, chairman of ABB.
“We are expecting the German delegation to talk about Make in India and the ease of doing business to further expand the German business footprint in India, including issues of taxation and cutting of red tape,” a government source said.
“India will talk about helping in increasing manufacturing by German industries here and allowing Indian pharmaceutical companies get better treatment in the EU. India will also press for Sanskrit to be taught in Germany.”
Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe and the second most important in terms of technological collaboration. New investment areas such as advanced manufacturing, R&D and smart city infrastructure are where India will seek investments from Germany.
India’s bilateral trade with Germany that rose from $18.6 billion in 2010-11 to $20.3 billion in 2014-15 is still seen as way below potential. Germany is the eighth largest foreign direct investor in India since 2000. German FDI in India during the period 1991 to February 2015 was valued at $8.25 billion.
Indian investments in Germany have also shown a remarkable increase in the past few years. Indian businesses have invested over $6 billion in Germany, mainly through mergers and acquisitions.