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Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee asks Germany to liberalise visa norms

New Delhi, Sep 23 (Calcutta Tube) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Thursday urged Germany to liberalise norms for visa and work permits to Indians, saying it would help boost bilateral trade and investment.

‘Germany’s visa and work permit norms restrict our business ties. It need to be liberalised,’ Mukherjee said at the 17th meeting of the Indo-German Joint Commission on Industrial and Economic Cooperation.

He said tough norms put by Germany in issuing work visa to Indians negatively impact the business ties between the two countries. ‘Our cooperation is far below the potential. There is huge scope to increase trade and investment.’

In his address, German Minister of Economics and Technology Rainer Bruederle said Germany was committed to strengthen business ties with India by liberalising norms.

‘We understand that free movement of labour, capital and technology is essential for strong business ties. Germany is committed to it,’ he said.

On the Indo-EU free trade agreement, the minister said both side need to show flexibility to finalise the deal.

India and Germany target increasing their bilateral trade to 20 billion euros by 2012 from 13.1 billion in 2009. Bilateral trade between the two countries has risen 14.3 percent in the first half of this year after declining 2.8 percent in 2009.

‘Germany’s bilateral trade with India accounts for less than one percent of its total international trade. There is a huge potential to boost the trade,’ said Harshpati Singhania, immediate past president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

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