End red tape, win confidence of investors: South Korean Ambassador Joon-gyu Lee

Stating that his government & cos are eager to collaborate with India, Lee said there is improved confidence after PM Narendra Modi coming to power.

Stating that his government & cos are eager to collaborate with India, Lee said there is improved confidence after PM Narendra Modi coming to power.
MUMBAI: India should win back the confidence of foreign investors by ending red tape and adopting better procedures and laws, South Korean Ambassador Joon-gyu Lee said today while expressing his country's eagerness to collaborate in initiatives like 'Make in India' and 'Clean India'

He also said Korean steel major Posco's $12 billion investment in Odisha, announced in 2006-07, has "slowed down", but added that steel major is working on other projects in other parts of the country.

"Their (Posco) biggest project in Odisha has been slowed down but Posco is doing business in many other parts, particularly in Maharashtra," he said

Stating that his government and companies are eager to collaborate with India, Lee said there is improved confidence after Prime Minister Narendra Modi coming to power.

However, there is an urgent need for the Modi government to win the confidence of foreign investors.

"Your government should win back the confidence of foreign investors. That is very important," Lee said, adding this should include "better procedures, laws and regulations and (end of) red tape," he told PTI.
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"Your government as well as judicial system should be very fair and transparent in judging the problem. In doing so, you should have some kind of national philosophy or goal in which way you are going," he said.

Lee said that South Korea is eager to collaborate in flagship initiatives like the 'Clean India' and the 'Make in India' campaigns, with specific offerings in sectors such as electronics, ship building and construction.

He said that South Korean companies would be keen to partner with their Indian counterparts to help create the right facilities for pushing growth.

Lee said that South Korea would be interested in financing such infra projects, even though its appetite is small compared to that of neighbouring Japan.
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When asked about New Delhi warming up to Tokyo, Lee said that Seoul does not have any problem with New Delhi's engagements with Tokyo or Beijing.

"India's improving relationships with Japan and China are very natural ones. Peace will help the world. It will also help our businesses. We don't see any problem in India's endeavour to improve relationships with China and Japan," Lee said.
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Though a South Korean brand like Samsung is set to become the largest consumer brand in India, Lee said that South Korea does not look at India only as a market.

"We just don't see India as a market. We South Koreans would like to see India as our partner for co-operation in every field rather than as merely a simple market," he said.

Indo-South Korean bilateral trade has slipped to $17 billion in 2013 from a high of $20 billion in 2011, Lee said, attributing the fall to "adverse global economic conditions".

However, with the increased collaboration, it should regain its highs soon and double to $40 billion in the next three to four years, he said.

"At present, the engagement is heavily tilted towards South Korea when we look at the balance of trade," he said, adding he would like to see a correction in the gap, but it should not be done by compromises in the volume of trade.

"India should try hard to make something which can be exported to South Korea. We are very much ready to buy Indian products of good quality at a good price," he said, citing clothing and footwear as segments which could be targeted by India
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