Economy, Domestic Economy

Seoul Seminar Targets Iran Business Prospects

Iran’s Ambassador to South Korea Hassan TaherianIran’s Ambassador to South Korea Hassan Taherian

A seminar titled “Investment Opportunities in Iran” was held at the South Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the South Korean capital Seoul on Monday.

Iran’s Ambassador to South Korea Hassan Taherian was a keynote speaker at the event, elaborating on Iran’s capacities to attract foreign investment, IRNA reported.

Iran signed its biggest credit line deal in recent years with South Korea’s Eximbank in August 2017. The deal envisages as much as €8 billion in loans provided by South Korean companies to finance various projects in Iran.

Taherian called on South Korean companies to take advantage of the abovementioned credit line to carry out projects in Iran’s energy, petrochemical, oil and health industries.

According to South Korean Ambassador to Iran Kim Seung-ho, Iranian and Korean companies should introduce their joint projects to Korea’s Eximbank that will review their profitability.

“The strategy of the South Korean government is based on further consolidation of ties between the two countries and the government is willing to see the Korean companies’ cooperation and investment in Iran,” Kim said, addressing economic activists in Iran’s northern province of Semnan on Sunday, Fars News Agency reported.

In an earlier interview with Mehr News Agency, the envoy said Seoul is shifting focus from trade to investment in Iran.

“Trade is like gluing two things but investment is rather a chemical reaction. When two materials react chemically, it is almost impossible to detach them. So the Korean government urges Korean companies to invest more in Iran,” he said.

According to Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, the country exported more than $3.03 billion worth of goods to South Korea during the nine months to Dec. 21, 2017, registering a 36% and 30% growth respectively compared with the corresponding period of last year.

Goods worth close to $2.42 billion were imported from South Korea over the same period, indicating a 13% and 4% year-on-year decline respectively, which made South Korea the third biggest country from where Iran imported commodities.

South Korea is one of Iran’s main suppliers of automobiles and auto parts as well as machinery and equipment for refineries, power and petrochemical plants, as well as industrial units.

Iran is also a major oil exporter to South Korea.

South Korea’s imports of Iranian crude oil hit the highest level in six months in September, amid Iran’s push to regain its market share lost under sanctions.

The world’s fifth-biggest crude importer shipped in 1.83 million tons of crude oil from Iran in September, or 446,148 barrels per day. That is a 22.8% increase from nearly 1.5 million tons a year ago.

South Korea mainly buys ultra-light oil from Iran, also known as condensate.

South Korea’s oil imports from Iran jumped 43.1% to 14.03 million tons in Jan.-Sept. of 2017, or 377,059 bpd, from 9.81 million tons over the same period of last year.

Later in December 2016, Iran signed a $650-million contract with the world’s largest shipbuilding company Hyundai Heavy Industries Company for the South Korean firm to build four 14,400 TEU container ships and six 50,000 DWT product tankers.

Ahmad Shahbaz-Beigi, the deputy head of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, said the fleet capacity of the shipping company is expected to expand 50% in 2018 with the addition of 10 vessels it has ordered from Hyundai.

The first new vessels are scheduled to join the Iranian fleet during the first three months of 2018.

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