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S Korea eyes pact for N-power plants

business Updated: Jan 17, 2011 23:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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South Korea wants to conclude a civilian nuclear power agreement with India, says South Korean finance minister Yoon Jeung-hyun.

Yoon expressed his country's strong desire to participate in New Delhi's plans to expand nuclear power production during his bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee.

The two countries agreed in principle to such an agreement last year, but have yet to finalise the agreement.

South Korea is a recent entry into the global reactor market. A formal civilian nuclear agreement would be the first step towards selling reactors in India.

Seoul hopes New Delhi will give its nuclear firms "a fair opportunity".

South Korea nuclear reactors are competitive in terms of quality, value and safety, Yoon said, as was shown when it won a $40 billion reactor contract with the United Arab Emirates.

The Korean Nuclear Power Corporation and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India are having ongoing discussions on such an agreement.

Seoul hopes to come to an agreement with India "as early as possible."

Enthused by the success of the recent bilateral free trade agreement, South Korea wants further discussions on how to expand the scope of the agreement.

India-South Korean trade volumes increased 44% last year, said the minister.

India had also benefited in terms of "human exchange": the number of Indian workers coming to South Korea grew 23% last year as compared to just over 12% the year before.

The two ministers also discussed how South Korea could participate in developing India's infrastructure, differences over double taxation, and the negotiation of a MoU between the two countries' financial regulatory bodies.