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Feb 28, 2017: When India liberalized in 1990s, international companies were reluctant to invest in India. Korea was the first country which dared to invest in India when other countries were reluctant to take the economic risk of investing in the 1990s. Korea subsequently became the 4th largest investor during the 1990s.

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Bilateral economic relation between India and Korea is important for both India and Korea, Korea’s Trade Minister Joo Hyung-hwan had said last year, “Fostering close economic ties with India is the top priority for Korea.” Further, the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) had said last September, “Korea needs to deepen economic ties with India and Vietnam for its economic growth,” reported Korea Times

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Economic relations with India is important for Korea as its relation with its 3 important trading partners- US, Japan and China is declining. Relations with US are fast declining due to America’s policy of protectionism and the new policies of Trump. Historical issues with Japan and Japan’s economic stagnation, as well as Korea’s decision to deploy US missile system, has soured Korea’s relation with both these two countries, hence relations with all 3 countries have become precarious.

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In January last year, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the India and Korea for establishing the platform “Korea Plus” a joint initiative of Ministry of Commerce and Industries of both countries, a platform established to promote and facilitate Korean investments.

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Few of the Korean startups are also doing business with Indian companies. Bangalore based real estate portal NoBroker had announced that it has raised $7 million (Rs 50 crore) in one round led by KTB Network, a Seoul-based VC firm in December last year. Softbank of South Korea had had led one round of funding for the Gurgaon-based True Balance, the CEO of True balance is Cheolwon (Charlie) Lee, a Korean.

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Prepared by Upama Bhattacharya. Twitter @Upama_myself


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