TEHRAN – South Korean Ambassador in Tehran Kim Seung-ho said Iran-South Korea Joint Economic Committee meeting is slated to be held within a month in Seoul.
Speaking to Tehran Times on the sidelines of the 23rd Press Exhibition on Sunday, the ambassador said holding the Joint Economic Committee meeting will accelerate the two countries economic cooperation and also Korean companies’ investment in Iran.
He described the two countries’ economic relations as “very good” saying that the economic ties have “never been better”.
Kim further mentioned his country’s oil imports from Iran noting that during 2017, imports of Iranian crude oil have risen by almost 100 percent.
“Iran is now the second biggest supplier of crude oil to our country after Saudi Arabia while it was number four during the sanctions era,” he added.
According to a report by Reuters, South Korea’s oil imports from Iran jumped 43.1 percent to 14.03 million tons, or 377,059 barrels per day (bpd), in January-September of 2017 from 9.81 million tons over the same period last year.
Asked about the trade turnover between the two countries, the official said the trade turnover is expected to reach $10 billion in 2017.
“It is rapidly approaching the pre-sanctions level,” he said.
According to Kim, South Korea’s exports to Iran have also increased near 30 percent this year.
The official also outlined the €8-billion agreement between Iranian banks and South Korea’s Eximbank saying that this credit line has escalated the two countries’ economic ties to a whole new level.
“Based on the framework agreement which was signed in Seoul in August, the Korean side will provide an 8 billion euro ($9.4 billion) loan to Iranian banks to finance various projects by South Korean companies in Iran,” Kim explained.
Asked about the possible effects of U.S.’s recent stance against Iran on the South Korean investors for contributing to Iranian projects, the ambassador said: “It has had no negative effect what so ever, at least not on the companies’ interest in Iran’s lucrative market.”