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Wednesday, Apr 06, 2005

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Govt keen on hiking FDI cap on insurance — Germany may review dumping duties on Indian goods

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The Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, signing an agreement with the German Minister for Economics and Labour, Mr Wolfgang Clement, in the Capital on Tuesday. — Kamal Narang

New Delhi , April 5

THE Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, on Tuesday reiterated the Government's intention to raise the foreign direct investment cap in the insurance sector to 49 per cent from the present 26 per cent.

"The intention is to raise the insurance FDI cap to 49 per cent. I believe the limit would be hiked when Parliament approves the Bill (the proposed Bill for an omnibus insurance legislation)," Mr Chidambaram said, while addressing a press conference after the conclusion of the 15th Indo-German Joint Commission.

Replying to a query, healso said that the Government would have to work out a policy on allowing FDI in retail. "Opportunities are expanding and will continue to expand," he said.

Mr Chidambaram said he expected Indo-German bilateral trade to double from the present Euro 6 billion by 2010. "I expect both Indian and German companies to enter into fruitfulco-operation with each other. If both sides work together it is possible to double the trade flows," he said.

Hesaid that the German Minister has assured that the country would take up the issue of anti-dumping duties imposed on Indian goods by the European Union. "The German side has assured that it would give a second look at the anti-dumping duties imposed on Indian goods," he said.

In a joint statement issued after the two-day session, the Indian and the German side identified key areas such as IT, biotechnology, telecom, electrical and mechanical engineering, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food processing and modern technical services as the thrust areas of co-operation.

Mr Chidambaram and the Federal Minister for Economic and Labour, Germany, Mr Wolfgang Clement, signed the joint statement here on Tuesday.

In the statement, the Indian side has pointed out that EU regulations such as Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH) and the Directive on Traditional and Herbal Medicine will hit the country's trade with EU.

The Indian side also drew attention to the difficulties faced by exporters of agriculture and marine products due to differences in standards and procedures applied in different countries and the increasing stringency of standards.

On its part, the German side asked for simplification of the procedures of the Bureau of Indian Standards to give more transparency to its rules, particularly with respect of electronic goods. It also offered to share the German experience for pension reforms, social security and micro-finance.

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