New Delhi: The government on Thursday approved signing of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with South Korea paving the way for an eventual duty free trade of goods and services between the two countries.
The approval was granted by the Union cabinet at its meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Briefing reporters after the cabinet meeting, information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni said,“India’s exclusion and sensitive lists includes agriculture, textile and auto components.”
She said while South Korea’s offer to break duty barriers include items of India’s export interest, New Delhi has taken enough care to protect its sensitive industries and the farm sector.
The CEPA comprises six agreements relating to opening up of trade in goods, services and customs, and trade facilitation.
Signing trade pacts with South Korea and Association of South East Asian Nation (Asean) are part of the 100-day agenda of the UPA government in its second term.
The CEPA negotiations had started in March 2006 and was concluded in September 2008.
India exports large amount of petroleum products, gems and jewellery, cotton yarn and textile products to South Korea. In 2007-08, bilateral trade was $10.12 billion.