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(The following press release from FICCI was received by e-mail. The sender verified the statement.)

Ms. Park Geun-hye, President of Korea, today expressed the hope that when the POSCO project in Orissa kicks off in full scale, it would inspire other large conglomerates in Korea to channelize investible funds into India. The extension of cooperation to SMEs would lead to creation of more jobs in India and Korea, she said while addressing captains of trade and industry of India and Korea at a meeting organized by FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM.

President Park urged Korean and Indian business to make concerted efforts to build a creative economy to usher in new opportunities for the people of the two countries in the future.

She said the Korea-India CEPA that was operationalised in 2010 had resulted in a 70% increase in bilateral trade volume. There was enough potential to raise the level of trade and investment to much high levels through optimum utilization of the CEPA and liberalization of the visa regime for greater people-to-people contacts, she added.

Mr. Anand Sharma, India's Commerce and Industry Minister, said that India was keen on Korean investments in the manufacturing sector, particularly in the National Industrial Manufacturing Zones. "We have put in place single window approval mechanisms and Korean industries should look at investing in the upcoming industrial townships. He said that Korean technology and resources were also welcome in IT, electronics, particularly semi-conductors and chips making. Korea's strengths in the energy sector could be synergized to reduce Indian dependence on energy imports, he added.

Mr. Park Yongmaan, Chairman Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman & CEO of Doosan Group, the oldest enterprise in Korea, emphasized the need for closer cooperation between businesses of the two countries to take the bilateral trade volume to USD 40 billion by 2015 from USD 20 billion in 2011.

Mr. Raj Kumar Dhoot, MP, Immediate Past Past President, ASSOCHAM, said that Korea posseses advanced technology and industries that the rapidly growing Indian economy will need to maintain a robust growth rate, while India has strengths in key sectors such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare and the IT sector to boost the south Korean economy. Some of the areas which need to be tapped to broadbase and diversify the India-Korea partnership are promotion of SME interests on both sides, opportunities for investment in India's infrastructure sector and prodvision of more market access to India pharma companies in Korea to supplement the Korea pharma market.

Mr. Rajive Kaul, Past President, CII, in his remarks, stated that India-Korea economic cooperation could be accelerated through active cooperation to strengthen manufacturing in India in areas such as cutting-edge technologies, electronic hardware manufacturing, telecom equipment, heavy industries and rail transport management systems. There was great scope Indian and Korean companies for tie-ups in energy, including nuclear and clean energy, joint ventures between SMEs and infrastructure development projects

Mr. Sidharth Birla, President of FICCI, in his remarks, said, "The visit of President Park Geun-hye comes at a time when India and Korea are setting a stage for more proactive enegagement in their 40-year old relationship, These decades have seen Korea and India transcend routine political, economic, social and cultural bonds to forge a 'strategic partnership', on that has over the years thrived on steadily growing interaction between our governments and businesses, consensus on global issues and people-to-people exchanges." India, he said, looked forward to more Korean investments in the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the National Industrial Manufacturing Zones as well as in areas other than manufacturing such as IT and services.



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