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South Korean Ambassador to India Chang Jae-bok on Thursday said Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh hold enormous potential for strengthening the South Korea-India partnership.
Speaking at the South Korea-India Economic Cooperation Forum 2022 at the CII Northern Region Headquarters here, he said: "I am happy to say that the year 2023 will mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and India. This region has excellent human resources, capacity of scale and is at the centre of the future of the agriculture and manufacturing pool.
"With CII's help and the amalgamation of innovation and technology along with top-notch human resources available in this region will create great synergy for the bilateral relationship between the two countries."
Various recent government policies resulted in the liberalisation of several key sectors, paving the way for foreign counterparts to set up joint ventures with Indian parties. As a result, nearly 700 Korean companies have entered the Indian market and increased their investments, he said.
Sharing the details on the partnership between the two countries, Yonggi Kim, Secretary (Economic), Embassy of South Korea, said: "In the last 10 years, the trade volume between the two countries increased by 116 per cent. The upgrade in the countries' bilateral trade agreement -- the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) -- is the most desirable and efficient way to enhance trade relations between both countries. The goal is to reach $50 billion worth of bilateral trade by 2030."
He said the sum total of South Korea's foreign direct investment into India from April 2000 to March 2022 is valued at 5.28 billion dollars, making South Korea India's 13th largest investor.
South Korea has already invested about $137 million for six months this year.
Hargunjit Kaur, Secretary (Industries), Chandigarh administration, in her address proposed to the Ambassador to partner on a twin city initiative wherein Chandigarh is actively looking for a sister/twin city in South Korea that has a similar size and topographical features which can allow the Administration to learn and collaborate through focused deliberations in trade, tourism, development, etc.
Talking about strengthening ties between Punjab and Korea, Dilip Kumar, Principal Secretary, Investment Promotion and Industries and Commerce, Punjab, said Punjab exported $71.45 million worth of goods to South Korea in FY 21-22 for yarn, fabric, bulk drugs, residue chemical and allied products, rubber products, hand tools, cutting tools, etc.
"A key take away from the Korean industry is that brands and universities work as partners for improved industry-academia linkages. If we bring this to Punjab, it will help us enhance trade and cooperation between Punjab and Korea. We would be happy to collaborate and set up more Korean manufacturers in the state to further the ties between our two nations."
Rajiv Kaila, Chairman, CII Chandigarh, said: "With K-Pop and other Korean web content gaining popularity among the Indian youth, interest of Indian people in Korean culture and language is steadily growing. In milestone developments, Korean history was included in Indian school textbooks in 2018 and the Korean language was offered as a foreign language in Indian secondary schools in 2020."
He invited the South Korean delegation to participate at the 26th Chandigarh Fair to be held in November 2023.
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