NEW DELHI: South Korea has agreed to consider providing more market access to Indian products in order to bridge the widening trade deficit between the two countries.
The issue came up for discussion during Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma's meeting with his Korean counterpart Yoon Sang-jick in Brunei today on the sidelines of ASEAN Ministerial meeting.
Sharma identified sectors like IT, generic medicine, textiles and garments in which India needed greater access in Korean market, an official statement said.
"Realising the need for more balance in the bilateral trade, the Korean Minister agreed to consider providing better market access to Indian products," it said.
Appreciating the 70 per cent growth in the first two years of implementation of Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Korea, Sharma underlined the concern that "bilateral trade of late has been rather slow and has shown a negative growth rate".
The CEPA came into force in 2010. During the meeting Sharma also pointed out to the widening trade deficit for India.
"A balanced trade is conducive to long term, sustainable and harmonious development of our economic cooperation," Sharma said.
The two ministers agreed to have a ministerial meeting to discuss issues related to market access.
During January-June period, India's import from Korea stood at USD 6.34 billion while exports were only at USD 1.77 billion. In entire 2012, exports stood at USD 4.14 billion while imports were at USD 13.50 billion.
Further, Sharma said that huge opportunities are available in India for the Korean companies to invest in infrastructure development. He also sought investment in the proposed National Investment and Manufacturing Zones.
The Korean Minister evinced interest in the concept of industrial cities and observed that the Korean companies needed to know more about it.
Both the ministers agreed to work towards the regional economic cooperation and integration under Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Sharma also held bilateral meeting with New Zealand trade Minister Tim Groser.