Economy, Business And Markets

S. Korea Expediting Revival of Trade Ties

S. Korea Expediting Revival of Trade Ties
S. Korea Expediting Revival of Trade Ties

Amid the recent influx of European delegations to Tehran in search of business opportunities, South Koreans have made sure they are not going to be left behind.

They are determined to boost bilateral trade from the current $4.8 billion per year to its heyday.

Out of all the countries that have sent delegations to Iran after the nuclear deal, the South Korean mission seems to have been the most effective so far, as crude exports to Seoul are already showing signs of an increase, ISNA reported.

Reuters reported on Thursday that the world’s fifth-largest crude importer bought more than 800,000 tons of Iranian crude in September, which shows a 43% hike compared to last year’s similar month.

Economic relations between Iran and South Korea date back to nearly four decades.

Following the July 14 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, both countries are working to revive the ties hit by western sanctions.

Bilateral trade gained momentum in 1975 when the two countries convened the first session of a joint economic commission. The session paved the way for cooperation in the fields of textile, fisheries, telecommunications, automotive, oil and tourism.

Mutual ties further expanded after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and led to development of industrial and technical cooperation. Joint post-revolution industrial and oil ventures helped increase bilateral trade from $8.1 billion in 1997 to $10 billion in 2008.

For many years, Iran has been South Korea’s main supplier of oil and, in return, Seoul has been the main exporter of auto parts, automobiles and machinery manufacturing equipment and electronic products.

Until 2012, when the sanctions on Iran’s oil industry were imposed, Seoul was Tehran’s fourth biggest trade partner, South Korean Yonhap news agency reported.

Earlier in October, the two countries held a business conference in Tehran, which 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.

Representatives of Iranian businesses, who participated in the conference, were led by Masoud Khansari, chairman of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture.

The two sides discussed ways of promoting bilateral ties.

At the conference, Eximbank expressed willingness to invest $5 billion in Iran’s health sector.

South Korea has also been eying Iran’s oil sector that needs $173 billion in upstream, downstream and midstream industries. Hyundai has said it is ready to invest in Iran’s petrochemical projects, alongside European companies.

Furthermore, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy earlier said the country’s companies are ready to engage in Iranian projects for upgrading energy infrastructures among other activities.