S. Korean Firms Scour Iran for Business Opportunities
Economy, Business And Markets

S. Korean Firms Scour Iran for Business Opportunities

The Conference on Iran-South Korea Investment Opportunities was held in Tehran on Sunday.
It was attended by Young Kee Kim, senior director general of Korea Eximbank—the official export credit agency of South Korea, Young Soo Kim, Eximbank’s executive director, South Korea’s Ambassador to Iran Woong Yeob Song, and representatives of giant South Korean corporations LG, Samsung and Hyundai.
The head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Masoud Khansari, and Director General of Organization for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran Ahmad Jamali were among Iranian officials attending the conference.
At the conference, the two sides explored avenues of cooperation and investment in the post-sanctions era.
“The face of the global economy is changing and Korean firms are looking for new economic opportunities in the new climate,” Eghtesad News quoted Young Kee Kim as saying.
Young added that the lifting of sanctions against Iran has unlocked the country’s potential and the Korea Eximbank seeks to find reliable partners in Iran and reduce the risk of conducting business in the country.
According to the Korean official, Eximbank is planning to enter into joint ventures with Iranian firms in various economic sectors and finance their activities as a sponsor.
He described the conference as a “starting point for initiating long-term economic cooperation” and hoped that it can create a robust, long-lasting network of cooperation between the two countries’ firms.
“Iran is also reserving an array of incentives and facilities for attracting foreign firms to enter the country,” said Jamali, announcing the government’s firm stance in assuring foreign investors of its support.
The official noted that there are no limitations on the establishment and registration of foreign firms in the country, as investors can both undertake joint ventures with Iranian firms or establish firms with complete foreign ownership.
According to Jamali, foreign firms interested in making investment in Iran can apply via the official website of OIETAI (www.investiniran.ir). The process takes about two-three weeks, during which their application is reviewed, and if approved, will be signed by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance.
“Investment in Iran is a golden opportunity for South Korea, considering the country’s potential for economic growth, its young workforce and its oil reserves,” said the South Korean ambassador, noting that South Korea can also cooperate with Iran in various sectors such as energy, communications and information technology as well as petrochemicals.
The Korean envoy added that investing in Iran would help South Korea expand its market in the Middle East, saying that cooperation between the two countries is a “win-win scenario”.
According to TCCIMA head, Masoud Khansari, Iran and South Korea’s high trade, economic, technical and industrial potentials still remain largely untapped. He referred to western sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program as the main obstacle hindering the expansion of bilateral trade.
Khansari noted that South Korea was among the few countries that maintained its trade ties with Iran in the sanctions era.
“A new era has started following the nuclear deal reached between Iran and P5+1, and South Korea can play an important role in the new economic climate,” he said.
The Iranian official emphasized that Tehran and Seoul must go beyond their traditional ties and consider establishing long-term cooperation. He pointed to various industries such as steel, energy, petrochemicals, transportation, auto manufacturing and home appliances as potential fields for further cooperation and said the two countries’ trade value can well surpass the current level of $4.8 billion per year.
“South Korea has consistently been among Iran’s top five importers of crude oil, currently purchasing more than 100,000 barrels per day,” said Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh in a meeting with South Korean Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Yoo Il-ho in Tehran back in August.
Moreover, Iran imports a substantial amount of non-oil goods from South Korea. The figure stood at $4.4 billion in 2014, according to the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration.

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