India signs bilateral trade agreement with South Korea

India signs bilateral trade agreement with South Korea

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, left, shakeS hands with India's Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma. AP

The CEPA comprises six agreements relating mainly to opening up of trade in goods, services and customs. It would give a boost to the more than USD 10 billion bilateral trade.

India's exclusion and sensitive list contains mostly agricultural, textiles and auto sector items.
The CEPA negotiations had started in March 2006 and were concluded in September 2008. The Cabinet had approved the pact last month.

In 2007-08, India exported USD 2.85 billion worth of goods to South Korea, posting a rise of 13.5 per cent over the previous year.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and several senior officials have left for the South Korean capital.
"We expect the CEPA to be a catalyst to further boost our business ties with India," said Choi Gyung Rim, policy director of South Korean foreign ministry.
The South Korean foreign ministry official said he expects the agreement to become effective sometime around next January after Seoul gets final approval from the South Korean National Assembly by the end of October.

The CEPA is similar to a free trade agreement (FTA), with a comprehensive coverage of trade in goods and services and investments, as well as intellectual property rights.
Under the CEPA, India will eliminate duties on 75 percent of products imported from South Korea on a custom-value basis during the eight years after the CEPA becomes effective. South Korea will remove duties on 93 percent of products from India during the same period.
Although the tariff-removal rate is slower than the provision under most other free trade agreements, the deal with India is still expected to boost bilateral trade by up to $3.3 billion, up from the 2008 total of $15.6 billion, the state-run Korea Institute for International Economic Policy forecast.
The agreement is forecast to benefit South Korean shipment of auto parts, while it benefits Indian service sector and service workers to work for South Korean companies.
The CEPA enables the duty-free export of 108 items that are made in the jointly-operated industrial park of Kaesong in North Korea.
Both countries agreed to set aside the farm and forestry sector as a "low-level" of market opening to protect vulnerable farmers and forestry operators.
"Among 1,466 duty items of farm and fishery items, we excluded 714 items from the CEPA coverage. Excluded items are rice, pork, chicken and most tropical fruit items," the ministry director said.

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