New Delhi has nudged Seoul to ease market access for Indian products, including steel, rice, and shrimp, in South Korea under the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), the Press Trust of India reported, citing an unidentified official.
South Korea and India held the 10th round of meetings to upgrade their bilateral CEPA in New Delhi last week, Korea’s ministry of trade, industry and energy said in a press release.
The Korean and Indian delegations were led by director general for FTA policy Ahn Chang-yong and additional secretary in the commerce department Anant Swarup, respectively, the release added.
The latest talks come after nearly 15 months since they last met in in Seoul in November 2022.
The negotiations focused on gaining tangible outcomes for Korea’s major export items in view of the bilateral supply chain cooperation, as well as on improving the country-of-origin standards for Korean firms exporting to India.
The latest round of talks also facilitated a joint steel dialogue and discussions on sanitary, phytosanitary measures, and technical barriers to trade, aiming to enhance cooperation in steel trade and address non-tariff barriers and enforcement issues.
“Both sides continued the discussions and decided to initiate #B2B dialogues on mutual areas of interests,” India’s department of commerce said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
During the meeting, New Delhi highlighted concerns about Korean companies in India preferring to purchase steel from Korean suppliers, impacting Indian firms, Press Trust of India reported, adding that Koreans have sought better pricing of goods by Indian firms.
The recent meeting was part of ongoing efforts to upgrade the existing free trade agreement between the two nations.
India, meanwhile, raised concerns over its limited rice quota of 20,000 tons under Korea’s tariff rate quota system, which allocates larger quotas to five other countries, and sought for a separate categorization or an increased quota, highlighting Korea’s high import duty on rice of 513% and a 5% duty on shrimp.
India’s exports to South Korea were $6.65 billion in 2022-23, down from $8 billion the previous year, while imports rose to $21.22 billion in 2022-23 from $17.5 billion the previous year, data showed.
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