India, South Korea conclude CEPA talks

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New Delhi, Sept 25 (UNI) After successfully sealing the talks for a free trade agreement (FTA) covering goods with the Association of South East Asian nations (Asean) last month, India today wound up negotiation for Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs) involving free trade of goods, services and investments with South Korea.

The formal text of the agreement, including schedules for liberalisation of goods, services and investment, is expected to be finalised by the end of October, Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement here, adding major elements of the agreement will be made public then.

The CEPA will be signed by the year-end after completing all domestic procedures. The agreement will come into effect from the first half of next year on a mutually agreed date, the ministry said.

The agreement was clinched after more than two years of negotiations in the 12th round of 4-day talks which concluded in Seoul today.

India was led by Commerce Secretary Gopal K Pillai, while the Korean side was headed by deputy Minister Hye-min Lee, the statement added.

The CEPA is expected to further accelerate the growth of the flows of bilateral trade and investment between Korea and India.

India and Korea are 12th and 13th largest economies in the world respectively. The bilateral trade has been growing by an average rate of around 27 per cent over the last three years and amounted to 11.2 billion dollars in 2007.

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