India-Korea meet: Piyush Goyal, Yeo Han-Yeo agree to fast-track trade talks

In a tweet, Goyal said he discussed with Yeo key issues relating to bilateral trade and investments, reviewed progress on the upgrade of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (FTA), and deliberated on ways to fast-track trade negotiations.

india korea meet
New Delhi has been raising concerns about its trade imbalance with Seoul and market access issues being faced by its exporters there, primarily due to non-tariff barriers. (Photo source: IE)

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday met South Korean trade minister Yeo Han-koo here and discussed ways to expedite trade negotiations, including on the planned upgrade of an existing free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

In a tweet, Goyal said he discussed with Yeo key issues relating to bilateral trade and investments, reviewed progress on the upgrade of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (FTA), and deliberated on ways to fast-track trade negotiations.

New Delhi has been raising concerns about its trade imbalance with Seoul and market access issues being faced by its exporters there, primarily due to non-tariff barriers.

The bilateral trade has been heavily tilted in favour of Korea. While Korea has successfully reaped the benefits of its free trade agreement with India, which came into force in 2010, Indian exporters haven’t quite benefitted from it. India imported goods worth as much as $15.7 billion and $12.8 billion, respectively, from Korea in FY20 and FY21 but its exports to that country stood at only $4.8 billion and $4.7 billion during this period. Moreover, Indian exporters have been complaining about huge non-tariff barriers there.

India ships out mainly aluminium, mineral fuels and organic chemicals to Korea and imports steel, capital and consumer goods, among others, from there. The substantial trade imbalance has prompted India to plan to review the FTA, formally called Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Since its pull-out of the Beijing-dominated RCEP trade negotiations in November 2019, India has been seeking to expedite talks with key economies for “fair” and “balanced” trade pacts. While India has ramped up talks with the UAE, Australia and the UK for FTAs, it has also been exploring the feasibility of either reviewing or upgrading various existing trade agreements.
As part of this, India is seeking a review of its FTAs with Asean, Japan and South Korea to make them more balanced.

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