EghtesadOnline: In a meeting with South Korean Ambassador Ryu Jeong-hyun, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran faulted banks in that country for blocking Iranian assets and creating financial difficulties for Iran’s businesses.
“Origin of these assets are clear and there is no justification for Korean banks to stop Iran from accessing its own resources on the excuse of US sanctions,” Abdolnasser Hemmati said, the CBI website reported.
Expressing the government’s disappointment over the issue, Hemmati told the diplomat that the Korean banks’ lack of cooperation is not acceptable by the people and government of Iran.
He stressed that the existing state of affairs is not justified and urged the Seoul government to take practical steps to address the financial problems that have worsened in recent months due to the hostility of the United States with which South Korea has a close military and political alliance, according to Financial Tribune.
“Our two countries have good relations and it is not rational to let such issues undermine ties,” the senior banker said.
Reiterating the need to soon remove the existing hurdles and maintain cordial two-way ties, Ryu Jeong-hyun said he will communicate the CBI concerns to his government.
He said the petrochemical industry in South Korea is dependent on imported gas condensates from Iran, pledging that his mission would do all it can to remove the obstacles.
Iran and South Korea have enjoyed normal economic relations for almost three decades. Koreans are the biggest buyers of Iranian condensate used by the country’s refiners as raw material for petrochemical production.
According to media reports, Iranian condensate accounted for 51% of Seoul's total condensate import during the first quarter of last year.
South Korea and the United States are important economic partners. Nearly $60 billion of trade between the two countries indeed shows the significant economic interdependence between the two states.
However, according to recent reports, South Korea is much more economically reliant on the US than the US is on South Korea. This is supported with the fact that the US ranks first as a trading partner for South Korea.
However, a recent policy brief introduces the fact that the ratio of exports to the US has declined significantly while the share of exports to China has increased drastically which led China to become the number one export destination for South Korea.
Although the economy of South Korea and the US is becoming more integrated with the recent ratification of the KORUS Free Trade Agreement, there remains some major trade disputes between the two nations in the areas including telecommunications, automotive industry, intellectual property rights issues, pharmaceutical industry, and agricultural industry especially rice and beef.