India Pushes for More Market Access in South Korea

India is requesting expanded market access for specific products including steel, rice, and shrimp as part of ongoing negotiations with South Korea to upgrade the current comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between the two nations, a government official disclosed on Monday 05 Feb.

The official elaborated that improving export opportunities for these Indian goods is the aim behind seeking greater market access from South Korea. The CEPA initially came into force in January 2010 and the 10th round of discussions to enhance the pact is now underway in New Delhi.

"We are asking for enhanced market access for goods like steel, rice, and shrimp to boost outward shipments of these items from India to South Korea," the official affirmed.

During the negotiations, India raised concerns regarding the reluctance of Korean companies to procure Indian steel.

"Korean firms operating in India often source steel from their domestic counterparts, presenting a dual challenge for Indian enterprises. The Korean side has expressed interest in enhancing price competitiveness in this regard," the official elaborated.

Regarding rice, South Korea maintains a tariff rate quota of five lakh tonnes, allocating the majority to five specific countries, leaving a mere 20,000 tonnes for others, including India.

India advocates for a reassessment of its categorization or an increase in quota allocation. South Korea currently imposes a steep import duty of 513 percent on rice," the official disclosed, adding that shrimp faces a 5 percent import duty.

On its part, Korea is seeking more access for its auto components and chemical manufacturers in the Indian market.

The last round of FTA upgrade talks were held in Seoul in November 2022. Both sides hope the CEPA renegotiation will boost economic ties further.

India also voiced serious worries about the growing trade imbalance between the two nations.

While India's exports to South Korea amounted to USD 6.65 billion in 2022-23, compared to USD 8 billion in the previous fiscal year, imports surged to USD 21.22 billion from USD 17.5 billion during the same period.

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