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CEPA with S Korea to be inked by end of 2008
Sep '08
India and South Korea have agreed upon signing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which will include free trade of goods, services and investments between both nations. This decision was made at the conclusion of the 12th round of the CEPA talks, which took place from September 22 to 25 in Seoul.

The Agreement is expected to be signed by the end of this year and will come in to effect by mutual understanding in the first half of 2009. The Indian delegation that held meetings in Seoul was headed by Mr G K Pillai, Commerce Secretary and the Korean side was led by Mr Hye-min Lee, Deputy Trade Minister.

According to the study conducted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, products like inorganic chemicals, dyestuffs and ready-made garments are goods of high export interest for shipments from India to Korea.

India ships petroleum products, gems and jewellery, cotton yarn and textile products to Korea. From which petroleum related items constitute around 55 percent of India's total exports to South Korea. In 2007-08, India exported almost US $2.85 billion worth of goods to South Korea, showcasing a rise of 13.5 percent over the previous year.

The bilateral trade has been growing by an average rate of nearly 27 percent over the last three years and amounted to approximately $11.2 billion in 2007. CEPA is expected to further boost the growing bilateral trade and investment that is taking place between Korea and India.

Experts are of the opinion that the agreement on free trade will make India open nearly 85 percent of its market to Korea that in turn will allow India to access its 95 percent of the market at either zero duty or at concessional rates.

Both India and South Korea held 12 rounds of negotiations between March 2006 and September 2008 before coming to a successful conclusion on CEPA.

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