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EghtesadOnline: The South Korean ambassador to Iran said Seoul is shifting focus from trade to investment in Iran.

Kim Seung-ho also told Mehr News Agency in an interview that Seoul is looking beyond trade.

South Korea has increased its commercial exchanges with Iran after Tehran signed the nuclear deal with world powers in 2015.

Last Iranian year (March 2016-17), bilateral trade reached the highest level of $6.33 billion over the past 10 years. Latest statistics on bilateral trade also indicate that this rising trend looks set to continue and a new record is at hand, according to Financial Tribune.

“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,” Kim said.

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.

“The Iranian and Korean companies should apply their common projects to Korea’s Eximbank. Then the bank reviews if the project is really profitable or not,” the ambassador explained.

Referring to hurdles in the way of foreign investment in Iran, he said the Islamic Republic needs to improve its business environment to help foreign investors gain a foothold in the country.

“We can’t go further (than urging Korean companies to invest in Iran) because the government can’t enforce its will. It is for the companies to decide if they want to put their money here in Iran or not … If Iran provides a good environment for foreign companies, they won’t hesitate to come here,” he said.

“Iran needs to make the environment more conducive to absorb foreign investment. It should provide some good incentives and of course make the environment more predictable and transparent.”

Speaking of a conductive business environment, he called on the Iranian government to do more to pave the way for foreigners to have a stronger presence in the country.

“Let me give you a simple example. Here in Iran, there are not enough schools for foreign children. So when it comes to Korean companies sending their representatives to Iran, everybody is reluctant. So we send someone here who has not very young children.”

Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht recently said foreign investment in Iran has seen a tenfold increase following the 2015 nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers

Addressing a news conference earlier this month, Nobakht said over $13 billion of foreign investment were made in Iran last year (March 2016-17), IRNA reported.

Director General of Industries Ministry’s Foreign Investment Office Afrouz Bahrami said Iran attracted $24.95 billion in foreign investments during Sept. 2013-17.

Germany, China, Turkey, Austria, the UAE and France were the biggest investors in Iran during the four-year period and the most attractive industries for investors were polymer and chemicals, steel, trade, motor vehicles, mining, plastic and medical devices.

Alborz, Tehran, Khorasan Razavi, Fars, West Azarbaijan, Kerman, Zanjan and Qazvin were the most attractive Iranian provinces for foreign investments during the period.


Iran South Korea