• January 18, 2022

India flags market access issues in Korea during trade ministers’ meet

New Delhi, Jan 11 (PTI) India on Tuesday flagged market access issues being faced by domestic players from several sectors such as steel, engineering and agri products in Korea and sought redressal of the matter with a view to boost bilateral trade ties, an official said.

The issue was raised during the meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Korean Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo.

Certain industry groups are of the view that due to some stringent regulatory issues in Korea, there are difficulties in terms of market access for Indian products.

“These barriers need to be addressed and some concessions need to be made on both sides,” the official said.

Among the products that are facing market access issues in Korea are bovine meat, grapes, pomegranate, okra and eggplants.

The Indian side also raised its concerns over the widening trade deficit with Korea. The deficit has increased from USD 5 billion in 2008-09 to USD 8 billion in 2020-21.

Both the countries implemented the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), a kind of free-trade pact, in January 2010.

The bilateral trade between the countries stood at USD 17.5 billion in 2020-21. The trade is in favour of Korea.

In the last fiscal, India’s imports stood at USD 128 billion while exports were only USD 4.7 billion.

During the meeting, India sought investments from Korean companies in sectors like semiconductors, chemical batteries for e-vehicles, and technical textiles.

India’s share in total steel exports to the Republic of Korea is abysmally low and averaged a meagre 0.04 MMT per annum over the last five years.

According to industry experts, Korean steel companies prefer to do business with firms with which they have prior experience of business relations and these things act as an implicit barrier for accessing the Korean steel market.

Similarly, in the case of rice, Korea has introduced the tariff rate quota (TRQ) arrangement for the import of rice from January 2020, under which 3,88,700 tonnes is allocated to its five major importing partners — China, USA, Vietnam, Thailand and Australia. And, as a result, only 20,000 tonnes is left for all other countries across the globe including India.

Indian textiles exporters face the issue of the Korean Certification mark. This mark is required on textile/apparel items (including footwear and leather products) to be imported or sold in Korea.

Complaints have also been received from Indian exporters of engineering goods on requirements of local certification from a Korean agency, which is a time-consuming process and takes on an average of 27-28 weeks.

Meanwhile, a joint press communique issued after the meeting of the trade ministers said that both sides have agreed to impart fresh momentum to the discussions on CEPA up-gradation negotiations and also promote extensive business-to-business interactions on trade and investment between the industry leaders of the two countries.

“The two ministers agreed…to address difficulties expressed by the industry from both sides and instructed their respective negotiating teams to meet on a regular basis in order to conclude the CEPA up-gradation negotiations as soon as possible (and) in a time-bound manner,” it said.

They expect to achieve the target of USD 50 billion trade before 2030, it added. PTI RR ANZ HRS hrs

source: PTI News

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