India seeks greater market access in Korea

India seeks greater market access in Korea

To bridge trade gap, says Sitharaman

India seeks greater market access in Korea

 Concerned over a widening trade deficit with South Korea, India on Saturday sought greater market access in sectors such as agriculture, marine, IT and healthcare in the East-Asian nation.

The issue, among others, was discussed at the review meeting of the India-South Korea free trade agreement, officially known as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her South Korean counterpart Joo Hyunghwan took stock of the progress in bilateral trade since CEPA came into effect from January 1 in 2010.

It was the second meeting of the joint committee at the ministerial level to review CEPA.
Agreeing to stepping up trade in services, Sitharaman was in favour of greater market access for Indian IT and healthcare industry in Korea, the ministry said in a statement.
Following India’s request, the Korean minister agreed to study visa requirements to enable Indian teachers to teach in Korea under the English programme.

“The ministers agreed that the widening trade deficit was a matter of concern for India and the Korean minister observed that the wider economic slowdown was one of the causes of increasing trade deficit,” the statement said. India had trade deficit of about $10 billion in 2015-16.

The Korean minister promised that his country is open to strengthening trade with India and allowing Indian exporters greater market access on a reciprocal basis. He also signalled that Korea could make investments under the Make in India programme for mutual benefit.

Sitharaman also impressed upon the Korean side to open up market in agriculture, marine, IT and other services. Both the ministers agreed that the utilisation rate of the bilateral concessions given under CEPA needs to be improved.

“Recognising the need for providing greater market access and mutual capacity building in SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) and TBT (technical barriers to trade) measures, the ministers agreed that Korean companies could invest in food processing of agricultural and marine products so that these value-added products could be exported to the East-Asian markets,” it added.