India, South Korea set to review Cepa in August

Written by Ronojoy Banerjee | Ronojoy Banerjee | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 1 2010, 05:11am hrs
Less than six months after India-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) kicked in, the two countries are slated to take stock of its progress later this year. South Korean trade minister Kim Jong-hoon is going to visit India with a business delegation in August and a thorough review of the Cepa is expected to be undertaken during the official state visit.

According to sources, India is going to push further liberalisation of services, especially in the movement of Indian nurses, doctors, chartered accountants and architects. Known as the mode four in trade parlance, India has been pushing for its liberalisation with every country with whom the country is negotiating a trade agreement. So far only Singapore and South Korea have allowed Indian professionals to work in their countries albeit with strict caveats.

Trade ministers from both sides are going to take stock of the Cepa...it will mainly look at how trade in goods and services have improved after the signing of the agreement, a senior government official told FE on conditions of anonymity.

A Delhi-based trade expert with an industry chamber said though in principle, South Korea has allowed Indian professionals to practice in their country, the degree of liberalisation is still on the lower side. There are constant restrictions imposed on the movement of Indians into Korea. The government should bring this up, he said. He added visa hindrances were a big cause for concern. The problem is while Indian doctors want to go to Korea and work because the pay is so much higher, the reverse is not happening for obvious reasons hence Seoul is reluctant to allow Indians easy access, he said.

In a recent interview to FE commerce secretary Rahul Khullar had said that any future trade agreement with India would have to be a comprehensive one and a single undertaking.