India’s Ministry of Commerce is seeking inputs from all industry-level export organizations against the backdrop of the review of the existing Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with South Korea, a senior government official said on Friday, September 11.
The official said that the ministry has convened a meeting with all sector-specific export promotion councils (EPCs) – government-supported industry-wise export organizations – seeking inputs on trade barriers they face in exporting to South Korea.
The inputs from export organizations are important as India is in the process of reviewing the CEPA through bi-lateral talks with South Korea, with the latter enjoying a significant advantage in the balance of trade between the two countries.
If India’s adverse trade balance with South Korea needs to be rectified, it is important to assess if Indian exporters face trade barriers in shipping merchandise to the Southeast Asian nation and/or exporters face stiff testing norms for their export consignments, the official said.
He said that trade between two countries has increased significantly since the signing of the CEPA in 2010, but it is heavily skewed in favor of South Korea with exports from India to that country in 2019 estimated at $5.6 billion, while imports from South Korea were around $15 billion.
However, the point to be noted in the course of reviewing the CEPA is that Indian exports to South Korea are showing a downtrend and inputs from exporters will enable the government to examine the causes. In the January-June period this year, Indian exports to South Korea was down 5.3 percent year on year to $2.59 billion.