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'Chinese exports to Korea far ahead of India' - FICCI
Sep '08
India's share in Korean import market, though rising, is far behind that of China and the gap has been widening, according to a FICCI analysis. Even though India's exports to Korea rose by nearly 4 times from $1.25 billion to $4.62 billion and India's share in Korea's total imports improved from 0.8% to 1.3% between 2002 & 2007, it fell short of China's impressive performance in capturing growing share of Korean import market, FICCI pointed out.

China's exports to Korea recorded a robust increase from $17.4 billion to $63 billion during 2002-2007 and now account for around 18% of Korea's global imports. More importantly, the gap between India's and China's share has been steadily widening in the same period, observed the apex Chamber.

In the last five years, China's exports to Korea registered consistently high rate of growth ranging between 26 and 35 per cent. On the other hand, India's exports to Korea witnessed a more fluctuating trend since 2003. In 2007, exports from India to Korea were surpassed by not only China, but 3 ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) too exported more to Korea than India did.

As regards product composition, top exports from India included crude & petroleum products, gems & jewellery, iron & steel, organic chemicals, cotton textiles, oil-cake, iron ore, articles of iron & steel, machineries and instruments.

However, just one item that is petroleum & petro-products constitutes 55% of India's total exports to Korea. In fact, if petroleum is excluded, India's export figures drop to just over $2 billion and its share in Korea's total non-oil imports comes down steeply to a mere fraction (0.6% in 2007).

This reflects an overwhelming preponderance of petroleum in India's export basket to Korea, and consequently the need for stepping up exports of non-petroleum items such as marine products, inorganic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, dyestuffs, ready-made garments, plastics, copper & aluminium products, instruments and electrical machinery.

In all these product-groups except dyestuffs, India's present share in Korean imports is miniscule (below 1%) and hence enormous opportunities exist for expanding exports from India to Korea through the route of FTA that is currently under negotiation, FICCI analysis suggests. The 12th round of negotiations on comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between the two countries will be held during 22-25 September in Seoul.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry

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