Economy, Domestic Economy

Iranian, S. Korean Businesses Establish Stronger Ties

Iranian, S. Korean Businesses Establish Stronger TiesIranian, S. Korean Businesses Establish Stronger Ties

South Korea and Iran can create a win-win situation if they work together in infrastructure projects in Iran.

The statement was made by the visiting South Korean President Park Geun-hye in a forum attended by some 450 South Korean and Iranian business executives and leaders in Tehran on Tuesday.

“The outstanding construction technology of South Korean companies, when combined with Iran’s momentum for growth, could lead to a mutually beneficial outcome in the infrastructure sector,” she said.

Park also called for efforts to facilitate and diversify trade.

“I understand that Iran, gearing up for the post-oil generation, has been putting in a lot of effort into information technology. South Korea, with its world-top level of information technology, hopes to become a reliable partner for Iran in this field.”

Also present at the forum was Iranian Minister of Industries, Mining and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh who said that during the sanctions, economic exchanges between the two countries reduced but never stopped. “Tehran is willing to have sustainable, long-term cooperation with Seoul in the form of joint investments,” IRNA quoted Nematzadeh as saying. “Our policies do not allow imports of completely knock-down or semi-knock-down products anymore.”

Referring to the two countries’ capabilities in different fields, the Iranian minister said the two sides can cooperate in sectors including, but not limited to, mining, agriculture, automotive, shipbuilding, home appliances, medicals equipment, IT and renewable energies.

The forum saw the signing of 13 memoranda of understanding between Iranian and South Korean companies on, among other things, construction of Zanjan 500 MW power plant, development of the second stage of Phase 12 of South Pars Gas Field and that of Bakhtiari Dam and hydroelectric power plant project, joint investment and financing by Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran and South Korea Development Bank.

On Monday, President Park and her Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani presided over a ceremony for signing a long series of agreements worth up to $45.6 billion, according to South Korean media.

Seoul hopes the MoUs could pave the way for South Korean companies to eventually win massive infrastructure projects underway in Iran, Yonhap News Agency reported.

 Soul Extends $25b in Financial Assistance

The South Korean president also said she expects the MoUs signed between the two governments on transportation and infrastructure as well as water resources to further boost bilateral cooperation down the line.

The South Korean government is planning to provide a financial assistance of $25 billion for South Korean enterprises so that they can obtain the final contracts with Iran.

“This is the largest financial package South Korea has ever presented to another country,” she was quoted as saying by International Business Times.

More than 230 South Korean business executives and leaders have accompanied the president on her state visit to Iran to explore new business opportunities.

Trade between South Korea and Iran stood at $6.1 billion in 2015, compared with $17.4 billion in 2011. The two sides agreed to boost bilateral trade to $18 billion per annum.

Separately, more than 120 South Korean companies held business meetings with more than 490 Iranian counterparts at a hotel in Tehran on Monday. Some of them signed deals worth $537 million with Iranian partners, according to South Korean officials.

 Commerce Chambers Get In on the Act

The South Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture on Tuesday, Yonhap reported.

The KCCI will establish an Iran desk and ICCIMA will set up a Korea desk under the deal inked on the occasion of President Park’s landmark visit.

The offices will provide firms with trade and investment-related information and make recommendations to their governments on what needs to be done to improve bilateral business cooperation.

The KCCI also plans to launch an “Iran Business School” for local companies seeking to do business in the Middle Eastern country.

“Iran, which has rich natural resources and the largest domestic consumption market in the Middle East, is attracting new attention as the international community’s sanctions have been lifted,” said Lee Dong-geun, vice chairman of KCCI.

“We will help our companies tap into Iran faster than other countries by establishing a firm foundation for civilian economic cooperation.”

The Korea International Trade Association, another business lobby group, said it held a forum in Tehran where about 500 business leaders from the two countries discussed economic cooperation in diverse areas, including the energy sector.

The forum was organized jointly by the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency and ICCIMA.