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'India-Korea trade to reach $15 billion by 2010'

By Staff
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Seoul, Apr 16: The bilateral trade between India and Korea will reach 15 billion US dollars by 2010, Indian Ambassador to Korea N Parthasarathi said here.

Talking to a group of visiting newspersons from Orissa, Mr Parthasarathi said the bilateral trade between the two countries had gone up to 6 billion US Dollar in 2005 and would further increase to nearly 10 billion US dollar by the end of 2008.

India, he said, had become a major destination for investment for Korea, adding during the last decade projects worth over 2.8 billion US dollar had been planned and till date the fund flow has been to the tune of 750 million US dollar.

He said the bilateral trade between the two countries would be more focused on electronic, construction and automobile sectors in which Korea has advanced technology and the knowhow.

Mr Parthasarathi claimed that POSCO's proposed 12 million tonne Steel Plant in Paradip on the Orissa Coast, considered to be the biggest FDI in India, would further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The project with an investment of nearly 12 billion US dollar would supersede all the projects in the country and bring a sea change in the region during the next six to eight years.

He said apart from 12 billion US dollar investment in the Steel project, another 12 billion US dollar would be pumped in with the setting up of ancillary units once the plant starts commercial production in its first phase by 2010.

The Ambassador also said Orissa government should demarcate areas for small medium enterprises (SME) which would grow with the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status.

Mr Parthasarathi said the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) had shown keen interest in building five ultra power projects in India. The Corporation, he said, would help in setting up the infrastructure for these five ultra power units. Describing the POSCO project as one of the major investment the country required, he said, both the Orissa and the Indian government had shown keen interest towards it as the economic benefit for the country would be tremendous.

Mr Parthasarathi said the Prime Minister's office had been sincerely monitoring the development of the project which is on the right schedule and likely to complete the first phase by 2010.

On the resentment of the local people against the project and the likely displacement, he said any economic development of the area is bound to cause displacement. ''If there are any major concern for the project, they would be taken care by the various agencies.

India, he said, is a democratic country where each opinion is valued and maintained there is no serious concern which would affect the POSCO project in India.

He stressed the need for the rehabilitation and compensation of the people likely to be displaced by the project and added that if these factors are taken into consideration then it might lead to concern.

He said India was not utilising its ore to the optimum level and added that POSCO has the technology and capability to use the resources to its maximum level which can benefit the country to a great extent.

Mr Parthasarathi said after the POSCO project at least six to eight big Korean companies had shown keen interest in investing in India which gives ample indication that India has become an important investment destination.

UNI

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