Iran and S Korea to triple their trade volume to $18 billion

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announces that Iran and South Korea will increase their annual trade volume from around $6 billion to $18 billion.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a session of Supreme Health Council, in Tehran February 22, 2016.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced on Monday that Iran and South Korea have decided to increase their annual trade volume to $18 billion, after meeting South Korean President Park Geun-Hye.

"The two sides decided to increase by three times the current trade volume of around $6 billion (5.2 billion euros) to $18 billion," Rouhani said in a joint televised press conference.

"We also spoke about tourism, direct flights between Seoul and Tehran, and Korean investment in Iranian tourism infrastructure, including building hotels," he added.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye answers questions from reporters during her New Year news conference at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, January 13, 2016.

Seoul seeks new markets to restore its decline in export revenues. Park’s three-day visit comes just months after the sanctions crippling Iran’s economy were lifted in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme.

Iran and South Korea established diplomatic relations in 1962 and since then Park is the first South Korean president to visit Iran.

Park, who is accompanied by several ministers and a 230-strong business delegation, will also be received by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves as he arrives to address workers in Tehran, Iraq, April 27, 2016.

The two countries have pledged to develop their relations in the energy sector.

"We will expand relations in energy projects and infrastructure... and in oil, gas, railways and ports," Park said.

According to Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, Tehran plans to increase its oil exports to Seoul  to 400,000 barrels per day from a current 100,000 bpd, this month.

Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh attends an extraordinary ministerial meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) in Tehran November 21, 2015.

Rouhani said that the two governments signed 19 cooperation documents in the presence of the presidents, and further memorandums of understanding were due to be signed by the private sector.

Talks also included discussions about the situation on the divided Korean peninsula amid fears that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct a fifth nuclear test.

"The security of the Korean peninsula and security of the Middle East are very important to us," Rouhani said.

"We seek peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and categorically oppose building any weapons of mass destruction."

Park said she "explained South Korea's opinion on... nuclear disarmament of North Korea... and requested Iranian cooperation".

TRTWorld and agencies