South Korea, India bilateral trade has almost doubled ever since a free trade deal went into effect from the start of this year, the Korea Customs Service said Tuesday. Trade volumes for January and February 2010 rose to $2.58 billion, up from $1.31 billion for the same two month period a year ago, the agency said.
In this period, South Korean shipments to India were valued at $1.58 billion even as its imports from India amounted to $992 million, resulting in a trade surplus of $597-million for South Korea.
The boost in trade has been attributed by the South Korean government to a mutual free trade agreement signed by both nations in August last year, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
The agreement came into effect from 1 January this year.
The agreement did away with tariffs India had imposed on 220 South Korean-made products and eliminated tariffs South Korea had put on 6,824 Indian-made items like oil cake, naphtha and hematite.
Except for 2009, when global recession affected figures, bilateral trade between the two nations has steadily improved over the last couple of decades with the overall amount growing from $952 million in the period 1991-2008 to $15.6 billion.
In 2009 trade figures dipped 21.9 per cent to $12.2 billion.
The state-run Korea Institute for International Economic Policy forecast last year that their trade account will rise by $3.3 billion as a result of the pact, raising South Korea's gross domestic product (GDP) by some $800 million.