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Ambassador speech at Gwangju-Jeonnam Market Seminar 2020 on 31st January, 2020

Posted on: February 13, 2020 | Back | Print

Embassy of India



His Excellency Mr Chong Jong Je, Vice-Mayor, Gwangju Metropolitan City

Mr Choi Jong Man, Vice Chairman of GCCI

Mr Sachin Satpute, Chairman Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea

Representatives of Korean companies in Gwangju and Jeollanam-do region and friends


Let me at the outset wish you all a very happy and  prosperous year of the white mouse. Saehe Bok Mani Phadseo!!

Embassy of India is privileged to partner with Gwangju city to bring India’s 71st Republic Day to the citizens of Gwangju and Jeollanam-do. The seed for this was laid during my visit last year to Gwangju for a business seminar that we hosted when I saw genuine interest in doing business with India. I sincerely thank the Mayor of Gwangju for his support in this endeavour. I extend my appreciation to His Excellency Mr Chong Jong Je, Vice-Mayor, Gwangju Metropolitan City for his presence today. I am grateful to Mr Choi Jong Man, Vice Chairman of GCCI and Chairman ICCK Mr Sachin Satpute for their support in organizing this forum.

We all are aware that India’s ‘Act East policy’ and Republic of Korea’s (ROK) ‘New Southern Policy’ have strong complementarities and this policy synchronization has meant that our countries have come closer than ever before in history. The strong leadership level engagements is laying a solid foundation for us to take advantage of. In 2019 alone, ROK President Moon Jae-in and Indian PM Narendra Modi had met thrice- in February in ROK, in June at G20 in Osaka and at UNGA last year.

This has had a positive impact on our commercial and economic ties which continue to be a strong pillar of our bilateral relations. We have been working hard to facilitate two-way trade and investment by encouraging more frequent and more diverse interaction between Indian and Korean businesses, academic institutions, local Governments. Our efforts have been rewarded witha 21% increase in trade reaching an all-time high of 22 billion USD last year and new investment in sectors like automobile, food processing, textile and meditech etc. We have also reached USD 10 billion in bilateral investment. We expect this to grow further in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Govt of India is focused on making it easy for Korean businesses to enter India. Some of the measures include creation of an exclusive Korean Business facilitation desk-KoreaPlus in 2016, visa on arrival facility for Korean nationals, commencement of direct flights by Air India from Seoul to Delhi. Both sides are engaged in negotiations to upgrade our comprehensive economic partnership agreement and this can spur the trade to enable us to achieve the target of USD 50 billion set for 2030 by our leaders.  

Let me give a small overview on what is happening in India. We remain one of the fastest growing major economy for the past several years. Despite the concerns on a slow-down in growth triggered by several global factors, we expect to reverse this trend in the second quarter of this year solely on the strength of some major policy initiatives initiated by the Government which will serve as a catalyst in this process. India will continue to remain the most attractive destination in the decades to come. I am confident of this because of the Government’s intent and actions which is reflected in the rise in the ease of doing business rankings to 63 last year (moving 79 positions in 5 years since 2014). The sustained structural reforms initiated by the government over the past several years are bearing fruit. Introduction of nation-wide Goods and Services Tax,  introduction of Insolvency and Bankruptcy laws, a robust Intellectual Property Rights protection regime, expedited disposal of commercial disputes have been instrumental in this positive outlook on India.India has also made the most significant improvement on the innovation capacity indicator ranking 31st, driven mainly by the excellence of its research institutions and quality of its scientific publications.

In my view, India offers opportunities not just in the manufacturing sector as indicated under our Make In India initiative but also the industries under the Fourth Industrial revolution such as AI, Robotics, start-ups especially fin-tech etc. That apart, we are well aware that there are scores of Small and Medium Industries in Korea, especially Gwangju-Jeonnam region that are keen to expand their business ties and take their investments into India. My colleagues will also present on the opportunities that lies ahead in several sectors and a guidance on the best way to approach them.

Let me conclude by stating that it is our earnest desire to work with Gwangju city and the Jeollanam do region closely and create success stories of your business in India. Gwangju ‘The city of lights’ has a very special place in modern Korean history and is close to our hearts for its democratic spirit and tradition. I believe that our engagements with Gwangju and Jeollanam-do are just beginning and we see a glorious path ahead. I would like to express my hope with this Korean expression:Hinggwa Maumal Habcchimyeon, Hanara Iginda. ( If we combine heart and mind, we can beat the sky.) 

Gamsa habnida!!