S Korea, India imminent to sign bilateral trade pact


Xinhua (China)
August 4, 2009

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) — South Korea and India will sign a bilateral trade pact in Seoul this week, wrapping up three-year-long negotiations, South Korea’s trade ministry said Tuesday.

Launching the bilateral negotiations in March 2006, the two countries have been pushing for the so-called comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) since February this year.

With India’s Cabinet already giving an approval of the signing of the CEPA, the signing ceremony will be held Friday, the trade ministry said.

"The trade agreement is the first of its kind with one of the BRICs countries," the ministry said in a statement, adding that it expects to further boost relations with the country.

The CEPA, a similar form of free trade agreements, includes trade in goods and services and investments, along with chapters on competition and intellectual property rights.

The deal will allow a tariff reduction on goods, with tariffs on auto parts expected to be eliminated over eight years.

Although the tariff-removal rate is slower than the provision under most other free trade agreements, the deal with India is still expected to boost bilateral trade by up to 3.3 billion U.S. dollars, the state-run Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) forecast.

South Korea, also recently wrapping up free trade negotiations with the European Union (EU), experienced a surplus of 2.39 billion U.S. dollars from its trade with India.

Editor: Wang Guanqun


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