NEW DELHI: India and South Korea have agreed to work on upgrading the existing bilateral comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) to ensure better utilisation of the current provisions and expand the number of items covered under the pact.
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu and his South Korean counterpart Hyun Chong Kim also agreed to cooperate in the fields of standardisation and conformity assessment and developing mutual recognition agreements in a recent meeting in Seoul.
“Both Ministers agreed to work towards finalising the CEPA upgrading negotiations at the earliest, if possible within 2018,” a Government official said.
“The existing rules need to be tweaked so that the Indian industry is able to utilise the concessions extended under the CEPA. The review needs to urgently address this issue,” the official said.
Both countries also want to expand the coverage of the CEPA. While India wants greater market access for a number of industries including IT, education and healthcare, South Korea is keen on more concessions for items such as steel, beauty products and household appliances, the official added.
The bilateral trade between South Korea and India, which stood at $16.8 billion in 2016-17 is skewed in South Korea’s favour with the Country exporting goods worth $12.58 billion during the year.