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Korean investors shying away from India due to red tapism and poor infrastructure
Excessive red tapism, poor infrastructure, complex tax policies, protectionist labor laws, high licensing and inspection costs, congested judicial system and land acquisition problems are major bottlenecks forcing investors from Korea to opt for other Asian countries over India, according to a study by apex industry body Assocham.

“With just 1.25 per cent share i.e. about $2.6 billion of Korea’s $215 billion worth total overseas investments till the end of 2012, India figures quite low on the list of favored investment destinations for Korean companies evidently as investors from Korea have pumped in $39.67 billion in China, $14.18 billion in Hong Kong, $8.38 billion in Vietnam, $6.73 billion in Indonesia, $4.65 billion in Singapore, $3.95 billion in Malaysia and $3.81 billion in Japan,” noted a report titled ‘India-Korea: Eliminating Barriers and Increasing Investments,’ prepared by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

“Though the bilateral trade between India and Korea reached $19 billion clocking nearly 20 per cent growth during 2012, it is relatively low compared to the size and structural complementaries of the two economies,” said the report.

“Korean FDI inflows have been growing at a very tardy pace as their companies seem to be keener to explore other emerging markets more so as many of them feel that if big company like POSCO can face difficulties, despite government assurances, it would be even tougher for smaller companies to survive in India,” highlighted the Assocham report.

In its report, the industry body has suggested the government for speedy administrative processes for approval and clearance of big-ticket investment projects through fast track process, development of dedicated world-class industrial parks and supporting infrastructure like logistics, power and water supply, carrying out tax reforms like early introduction of goods and services tax (GST) and developing social infrastructure like Korean restaurants, recreational facilities and others.

“South Korean companies can forge business alliance with their Indian counterparts to become partner in infrastructure development as India plans to tap $1 trillion in infrastructure sector by 2017,” suggested the report. Moreover, there is vast scope to boost trade in services like information technology (IT), information technology enabled services (ITeS), communications, banking, insurance, education, broadcasting, tourism and healthcare.

The chamber study further states that automobile, infrastructure, nuclear and renewable energy, defence, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and shipbuilding are some of the key areas with significant potential for investments and co-operation between India-Korea.

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