Iran and S. Korea plan to triple trade to $24 billion

South Korean President Park Geun Hye talking with her Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani during a welcoming ceremony at Iran's presidential palace in Teheran yesterday.
South Korean President Park Geun Hye talking with her Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani during a welcoming ceremony at Iran's presidential palace in Teheran yesterday.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

TEHERAN • Iran and South Korea have decided to triple their annual trade volume, President Hassan Rouhani announced yesterday after meeting his South Korean counterpart Park Geun Hye.

"The two sides decided to increase by three times the current trade volume of around US$6 billion to US$18 billion (S$24 billion)," Mr Rouhani said in a joint televised press conference.

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

Ms Park is the first South Korean president to visit Iran since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1962.

Seoul is seeking new markets to turn around a lengthy decline in export revenues.

Ms 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.

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," Ms Park said.

Teheran hopes this month to increase its oil exports to Seoul to 400,000 barrels per day from a current 100,000 barrels, according to Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh.

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

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

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2016, with the headline 'Iran and S. Korea plan to triple trade to $24 billion'. Print Edition | Subscribe