Tehran, Seoul set to hike trade to $18 billion/Iran, S. Korea sign 19 agreements

S. Korea to invest $25b in Iran

May 2, 2016

TEHRAN - Iran and South Korea signed 19 cooperation documents here on Monday, pledging to increase their annual trade by three times the current volume of around $6 billion to $18 billion.

“We spoke about tourism, direct flights between Seoul and Tehran, and Korean investment in Iranian tourism infrastructure, including building hotels,” President Hassan Rouhani said in a joint press conference with his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-Hye.

“We should increase bilateral trade, which has dropped in recent years, to $18 billion in the first phase, and then to $30 billion in the mid-term,” Rouhani added, according to the president.ir.

Iran and South Korea have the potential to expand relations in ICT, nanotechnology, environment protection, industry, and agriculture, he explained.

The Korean president, for her part, said, “We will expand relations in energy projects and infrastructure, as well as in oil, gas, car, health, and high-tech industries.”

“Toward supporting relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, South Korea will provide $25 billion in finance for infrastructure projects in Iran. This is the largest financial package South Korea has ever presented to another country,” Park highlighted.

The new round of cooperation between Iran and South Korea will be within the framework of investment, research and development, and joint venture, she stressed.

Park added that the Tehran-Seoul direct flight will be launched soon to facilitate trade between the two countries.

Official data show the Iran-South Korea trade value stood at $6 billion at the end of 2015, two times lower than the turnover in 2011, as a result of Western-led sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

Last year, South Korea imported $2.2 billion worth of crude oil from Iran, down 51 percent from the previous year and far lower than $9.36 billion in 2011, according to Korea Times. 

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has said Tehran hopes this month to increase its oil exports to Seoul to 400,000 barrels per day from a current 100,000 bpd.

Park is the first South Korean president visiting Iran since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1962. She is accompanied by several ministers and a 230-strong business delegation.

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