India aims for upgraded CEPA with S Korea by 2023; trade talks with Kyrgyz Republic held

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, November 4: India, seeking a rest in its trade ties with various partners, on Friday sought an accelerated conclusion of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) up-gradation with Republic of Korea (ROK) by next year when the two countries would commemorate 50 years of diplomatic relations. India has been voicing concerns over trade imbalance with South Korea, and hopes that an upgraded CEPA would help Indian goods gain access in the South Korean market.

The CEPA up-gradation negotiation was held in Seoul from November 3-4, 2022. The two sides underlined the need to have negotiations, which are based on win-win approach, are forward looking and outcome oriented. Both sides shared the hope that the CEPA upgradation negotiations would play an important role in strengthening and deepening economic cooperation between both countries, said the Ministry of Commerce in a statement.

Sub Groups on trade in goods, services, rules of origin, investment, SPS/TBT issues held in-depth discussions. India, it may be noted, has been insisting on the clarity and strict compliance with rules of origin of goods to ensure that the Chinese goods don’t take advantage of the liberal duties to gain the Indian markets through third countries.

“India raised serious concerns on the growing trade deficit between the two countries and discussed market access issues. Both sides agreed to work closely to address tariff and non-tariff barriers and deepen the relationship in the services sector. They also shared a common view that both sides should make utmost efforts to expedite negotiations in order to reach a mutually beneficial and satisfactory outcome during 2023, while taking note of the importance of the upcoming 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries,” added the Ministry of Commerce.

The chief negotiators also shared the view that both sides should promote conducive trade environment to enable both sides to fully utilize benefits under the CEPA. It was agreed that the 10th round of CEPA upgradation negotiations will be hosted by India in early 2023. The Indian delegation was led by chief negotiator Anant Swarup, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, while the Korean side was led by their chief negotiator Yang Ghi-Wuk, Director General, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), Government of the Republic of Korea.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal today called for enhancing bilateral trade and deepening cultural relations between India and Kyrgyz Republic. He was addressing the 10th Session of the India-Kyrgyz Republic Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation (IKIGC).

India and Kyrgyz Republic shared warm and friendly ties. Goyal said that India was among the first Nations to establish diplomatic relationship with Kyrgyz Republic in March 1992 and observed that 2022 marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relationships between the two nations. The Minister said that the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Kyrgyz Republic in June 2019 had raised the relationship between two nations to the level of strategic partnership. The Minister pointed out that there was immense potential for expansion of bilateral trade between India and Kyrgyzstan. He said that India was very enthusiastic about participating in trade shows and exhibitions in Kyrgyztan and invited Kyrgyztan to take part in trade expos in India.

“Both sides discussed mutual cooperation and steps to further enhance them in the fields of Trade & Economy, Development Partnership, Investment, Digitalization, Intellectual Property, Agriculture, Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Textiles, Education, Environment, Standardization & Metrology, Banking, Transport, Labour, Mining and Power sectors. Emphasis was given to increase the bilateral trade and investment opportunities,” stated the Ministry of Commerce in another statement.

The sides agreed to take necessary measures to increase the interaction of exporters and importers of the two countries and expand the trading basket.  A Protocol of the 10th session of the IKIGC was signed between India and the Kyrgyz Republic. Both the sides agreed to hold the 11th session of the IKIGC on a mutually convenient date.

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