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South Korea “respects” India’s decision to ban wheat exports–Ambassador

South Korea’s ambassador to India Chang Jae-bok

The recently inked Indo Pacific Economic Framework is expected to give a boost to the global economy and ease supply chain network, South Korea’s ambassador to India Chang Jae-bok said on Wednesday. He also came out in support of India’s decision to ban wheat exports amid rising food inflation and concerns over food security.

“In principle, I respect the decision of the government of India because this is related to the stability of the domestic market of India,” Chang said.

He however said that India’s decision will impact global market prices. “We are closely watching the approximation of the market in terms of wheat, sugar and other items,” he added.

India and South Korea have also pressed the pedal on economic and trade cooperation in the post Covid phase. Despite stringent Covid 19 restrictions in 2021, bilateral trade between India and South Korea went up 40 per cent over the previous year touching $23.7 billion – the highest ever. In 2020, it was $16.9 billion.

“The target is to touch $50 billion by 2030,” Chang Jae-bok, South Korea’s Ambassador said at the five day Korean Fair in New Delhi.

The two countries have also agreed to revise and upgrade the existing Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between the two countries.

The upgradation of the agreement will help in touching the $50 billion trade target. 

The Korean Trade Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra) is looking to hold such fairs across India to promote Korean products and culture.These fairs besides showcasing the enture gamut of Korean products, food and culture, also provide a platform to the South Korean companies to come together. Several new products have been introduced to the Indian market for the first time through this fair.

There are about 750 Korean companies operating in India. But the number is significantly lower compared to other Asian countries such as Vietnam, which has about 7000. “We expect more Korean SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to come into India,” Chang said, adding that both countries already have a strong economic partnership, which is further expanding.

South Korean culture, music, food and even language are gaining popularity like never before in India. Just before leaving India, former South Korean ambassador to India Shin Bongkil said that Covid-19 pandemic showcased India as the next investment destination.

However, observers said that India must further work towards improving ease of living, something that will help in attracting more foreign investors.   

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