India-S.Korea bilateral trade in 2017 reached $20bn: Modi
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said bilateral trade between India and South Korea in 2017 reached $20 billion, the first time in six years.
Modi also said that he wondered how South Korea, a country of the size of Gujarat, could make such economic progress.
"It is heartening to note that the bilateral trade crossed $20 billion for the first time last year in six years," Prime Minister said while addressing the India-Korea Business Summit here.
He also said he "admires the spirit of entrepreneurship of the Korean people".
"I admire the way in which they have created and sustained their global brands, from information technology and electronics to automobile and steel, Korea has given exemplary products to the world."
Modi also said South Korean companies are appreciated for their innovation and strong manufacturing capability.
Speaking on the investment of Korean companies in India, the Prime Minister said: "South Korea ranks only 16th in FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) equity inflows to India. India offers a lot of potential for the Korean Investors with its huge market and enabling policy environment."
Inviting companies to invest in India, he said: "In FDI, we are one of the most open countries now. Most of the sectors of our economy are open for FDI."
Modi further added that more than 90 per cent FDI approvals have been put on automatic route.
There is practically no requirement of government approval for investments in manufacturing sector except for the defence sector, Modi said.
"Very soon, we will become the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP. We are also the fastest growing major economy of the world today," he added.
The Prime Minister also said India has all three factors of the economy.
"If you see around the globe, there are very few countries where you have three important factors of economy together. They are -- democracy, demography and demand. In India, we have all the three together," he said.
Modi added that the relations between India and South Korea dates back centuries.
"We are also bound by our Buddhist traditions. Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore composed poem 'Lamp of the East' in 1929 about Korea's glorious past and its bright future.
"It is also conicidence that India and Korea both celebrate their independence day on August 15. From Princess to Poetry and from Buddha to Bollywood; India and Korea have so much in common," the Prime Minister added.
"Our partnership has immense potential to promote regional growth, development, stability and prosperity in Asia. India is turning to the east for bigger economic engagement. Similarly, South Korea is trying to diversify it overseas markets," he said.