India will liberalise its trade with South Korea and three key ASEAN countries — Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia — from Friday by slashing duties on several products like seafood, chemicals and apparel among others.

The country’s market-opening pacts with three of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Korea will be operational from January 1. The remaining seven ASEAN members will take a few more months to get the India-ASEAN trade pact, which needs to be “internally approved or ratified by their parliaments,” an official said.

Indian exports to Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia accounting for over 90 per cent of the India-ASEAN $44-billion trade, would also be given easy access on about 4,000 tariff items.

Under the Indo-Korean Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which includes services, Indian professionals from as many as 163 sectors, including IT, English teaching, consultancy and engineering, would be eligible for temporary visas up to one year in Korea. Under this agreement, customs duties will also be reduced or eliminated on as many as 93 per cent of Korea’s tariff lines which include tyres, electrical goods, vehicle parts and petroleum products.

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