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The proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union (EU) will benefit both sides and create jobs, trade opportunities as well as facilitate investments, a senior German official said here today.

"The FTA agreement between Europe and India will bring advantage to both sides, India and Europe.

"It will create trade opportunities, create jobs and facilitate investments. Initially, there will be some losers and winners, but overall there will be winners on both sides," Germany’s Consulate General in Mumbai Michael Siebert said.

Siebert was speaking at a panel discussion organised by the Indian Merchant’s Chamber.

The next negotiation meeting is expected to take place next week to discuss these issues in the FTA, he said.

On Indo-German partnership, he said, "We need software technologies from India and we can provide engineering expertise from Germany. India has many young people and Germany has job facilities. We invite some young Indian engineers and software people to Germany."

Siebert said that as many as 350 business entities from Germany are operating in Pune alone and many more are present across India, all of whom have long-term interest in the burgeoning domestic market.

Consul Generals of as many as six countries, namely Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, Hungary and Israel, participated in the discussion.

They expressed optimism about India’s growth prospects in coming years, especially given its recent history of robust growth, notwithstanding the global economic slowdown.

Canada’s Consul General in Mumbai, Jordan Reeves, said that his country would be happy to service the Indian market with various technologies.

During the discussion, Indian skills in the areas of information and communication technology (ICT) and software development emerged as a great attraction.

Hungary and Israel highlighted opportunities in the field of electronics, water management and pharmaceuticals, while France was keen to take part in infrastructure development. The focus area for Sweden was renewable energy and transport solutions.