South Korea and India reached a comprehensive agreement on additional commodity and service market opening within the framework of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
According to the agreement, South Korea and India will open their agricultural and fisheries and petrochemical markets including mangoes and synthetic resin. Since the initiation of negotiations for CEPA improvement in 2016, the two countries have had six official negotiations and multiple working-level talks.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with each other and issued a joint statement on July 10, promising to accelerate future negotiations for CEPA improvement. The Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy of South Korea said that the joint statement has a significant meaning for the two countries’ strategic partnership and is expected to make a substantial contribution to their bilateral trade amid global trade protectionism.
During President Moon Jae-in’s four-day state visit to India, the South Korean government and South Korean companies signed MOUs with their Indian counterparts in various fields.
For example, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy and Ministry of Science & ICT concluded an MOU with India’s Ministries of Commerce & Industry and Science & Technology to organize a future vision strategy group for cooperation related to Industry 4.0. The group will be led by the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology, the National Research Foundation of Korea, and the Global Innovation & Technology Alliance of India.
The Trade, Industry & Energy Ministry and the Commerce & Industry Ministry signed an MOU for trade remedies-related cooperation, too. According to the MOU, the two will hold regular meetings to that end in order to reduce import restrictions and further expand their bilateral trade. At present, a total of 30 import restrictions against South Korean products are in effect in India, which is second only to the United States in terms of the number of such restrictions. The 30 include 20 against chemical products and seven against steel. Both are South Korea’s major export items and the restrictions are hindering the bilateral trade to a large extent.
KB Financial Group and Bank of Baroda, in the meantime, agreed to set up a digital payment system for mobile payment and so on. South Korean auto parts manufacturer autoGen and Mahindra & Mahindra, the fourth-largest automaker in India, promised to work with each other for vehicle weight reduction.
Also, the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) adopted a joint statement for more bilateral economic cooperation. The statement was joined by 16 South Korean and 17 Indian entrepreneurs, including KCCI Chairman Park Yong-man, Korea Employers Federation Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Yoon Boo-keun, Hyundai Motor President Chung Jin-haeng, FICCI Chairman Rashesh Shah, and Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra.
According to the statement, the two sides will organize a working-level group for cooperation in the five fields of automobile, infrastructure, electronic and information technology, startup foundation, and innovation ecosystem. In addition, they will launch joint projects for innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and advanced manufacturing.