The issue came up for discussion during a meeting of Indian and Korean officials in Seoul last month.

The talks over widening of free trade agreement are likely to figure during Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's visit to South Korea in the second week of May.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to visit the country later next month.

The Korean side wants that the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) with India should be upgraded to include some more products such as machinery and certain kinds
of steel products, an official told reporters.

India and South Korea implemented the CEPA in January 2010. The bilateral trade is in favour of South Korea. Trade deficit increased from USD 5.1 billion in 2009-10 to USD 8.27 billion in 2013-14.

During the official level meeting, the Indian side raised concerns over declining exports of products, including textiles, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals to South Korea.

Upgrading of a free trade pact involves reopening of the agreement and fresh negotiations with regard to duty-free access of the new products.

The bilateral trade between India and South Korea stood at USD 16.67 billion in 2013-14.

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