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India, Germany ideal partners for each other: Michael Steiner

MUMBAI: There is a consensus in theGerman Parliament that India and Germanyare ideal partners for each other, German envoy Michael Steiner said here today.

Angela Merkel all set to win the third term as Chancellor in German elections, Steiner said, "There is a consensus in the German Parliament that India and Germany are ideal partners for each others."

In a way the new government will be pro-Europe, non-nationalistic and pro-India, the German Ambassador to India said.

He was talking on the sidelines of Indo-German Chamber of Commerce's annual general meeting here.

"We see a huge potential of growth in trade between the two countries," he said, adding that many German companies established in India still make good business.

The latest data shows that the trade deficit in August could be brought down to less than USD 11 billion, compared to the peak of almost USD 21 billion in May.

In August, exports grew by 13 per cent, the non-oil imports dropped by 10.4 per cent. It looks like the rupee's 20 percent loss between May and August is finally having positive effects on the trade balance, Steiner said.

"This relief for the trade balance has to be welcomed. However, export growth based on devaluation effects is of course not a sustainable strategy. What India really needs is not hot money, but sustainable growth, more long term foreign investment and skilled labour," he said.

Steiner pointed out that India needs to take some bold steps to regain the confidence of investors - both national and international. India should give high priority to issues like education, governance, energy security and infrastructure improvement, he said.

Commenting on the FTA agreement, Steiner said, "It worries me that the negotiations about the Free Trade and Investment Agreement with the EU seem to have come to a halt. India should not miss the Free Trade train."