India, Korea to double bilateral trade by 2014

Written by fe Bureaus | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 27 2010, 04:46am hrs
Spurred by their bilateral trade of over $16 billion, which got a boost with the coming into force of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CEPA) on January 1 this year, India and South Korea agreed to double the bilateral trade between the two countries to $30 billion by 2014.

The leaders of both the sides decided to foster a strategic partnership that is expected to deepen bilateral cooperation in the areas of economy, defence, science technology and culture.

At the end of summit level talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Lee Myung-bak, the two governments signed memorandums of understanding on cooperation for the development of space technology, information technology and on the transfer of sentenced persons and science and technology.

Singh and Lee, who arrived here on Sunday for a four-day state visit his first overseas trip this year decided to foster a strategic partnership that is expected to deepen bilateral cooperation in the areas of economy, defence, science technology and culture.

Considering that the Korea-India partnership is a factor for peace and stability in Asia, Lee and Singh agreed to enhance bilateral relations to a Strategic Partnership, a joint statement issued following the summit said.

These agreements are expected to further pave the way for Korean companies, including Hyundai Motor, Samsung and Posco, to sharply increase their presence in India as well as in Southeast Asia. Earlier in the day, addressing captains of Indian industry and trade at a business meeting organised by Ficci, CII and Assocham, the Korean envoy urged the government to look at Koreas expertise in civil nuclear energy production and strike mutually beneficial collaboration in developing Indias nuclear energy capabilities and make the sector globally competitive.

He also urged Korean companies to invest in the growing Indian economy and Indian companies to turn their attention to Korea. Business cooperation between the two sides, he said, would be productive and effective in view of the complementarities that existed between the two economies and the competitive advantages enjoyed by the Korean and Indian companies. He stressed on people-to-people exchanges to make CEPA more meaningful. Two-way trade between Korea and India grew 39% to $15.6 billion at the end of 2008, with South Korea posting a surplus of $2.39 billion. The CEPA is expected to boost bilateral trade by as much as $3.3 billion annually.