India agrees to trade Yoga for South Korea’s Taekwondo

New Delhi: Indian yoga instructors can now open institutes in South Korea while South Korean taekwondo professionals can do the same in India as both sides liberalized their services market under an upgrade of the free trade agreement (FTA) signed during the recent visit to India by the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in.

Under an early harvest of the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) review, both sides agreed to allow yoga and taekwondo to be traded under the four modes of services.

Promoting yoga has been a priority for the Narendra Modi government.

“If we start taking pride in our legacy, then the world too will never hesitate in taking pride in that. But if we don’t have any trust in our own strength and capabilities then no one will accept it,” Modi said in Dehradun on the fourth International Yoga Day on 21 June.

This would mean Indian yoga institutions can set up branches in South Korea and Korean hospitals can seek opinions from yoga experts for particular ailments, said Pralok Gupta, an expert on services trade at the Centre for WTO Studies of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. “The benefits are theoretical in nature at present because of linguistic and cultural barriers but this could form a template for negotiations with other countries. Once this gains currency, India can export yoga professionals to different countries,” he said.

“We urged the business community from both our countries to leverage opportunities arising from complementarities between the two economies, to enhance investment, to promote joint ventures, and to work towards the goal of raising bilateral trade to $50 billion by 2030,” the two countries said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

India exported goods worth $4.5 billion in 2017-18 and imported goods worth $16.4 billion leading to a trade deficit of $11.9 billion during the year.

Under the upgraded CEPA, South Korea agreed to cut tariffs of 17 items while India conceded on 11 items. Among major items, South Korea has agreed to give greater market access to India in shrimps, while India has allowed more tuna fish to be imported from South Korea.

South Korea has also agreed to increase the visa duration for inter-corporate transfers to three years from one year at present. The two countries had in August 2009 signed the CEPA, which came into effect in January 2010.

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