South Korea and India will hold trade ministerial talks in March to expand the level of their market liberalization under a bilateral free trade agreement already in effect, South Korea's trade minister said Monday.
The talks will be a follow-up to a verbal agreement between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during Park's trip to India last week. South Korea has repeatedly asked for an upgrade to the bilateral trade pact, known as the comprehensive economic partnership agreement, which went into effect in early 2010.
"Regarding the Korea-India CEPA, the two countries have tentatively agreed to hold trade ministers' talks in March," Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Yoon Sang-jick told reporters here.
Under the existing Korea-India CEPA, import tariffs have been or will be removed on only 65 percent of all products traded between the countries. The market liberalization level is significantly lower than the 90 percent under India's similar agreement with Japan, officials here have said.
India has been reluctant to revise the Korea-India CEPA, citing its already growing trade deficit with South Korea, which had jumped over 29 percent from $3.87 billion in 2009 to over $5 billion in 2012. (Yonhap News)