South Korea and Iran signed a maritime pact covering shipping and fisheries that would give Korean companies greater access to markets in the oil-rich country, Yonhap reported Tuesday, citing the South Korean government. The signed understanding would allow ships from both the countries to pass more easily through each others’ territorial waters and would help them get equal support in case of emergencies.
The two countries had unsuccessfully tried to implement a similar pact in 1998, Yonhap reported. Last year, the east Asian country exported only 1 percent of its combined fishery export, worth $21 million, to Iran. The new pact comes into force after economic sanctions against Iran have been lifted, and industry watchers expect Tehran to come up with more maritime projects to improvise its natural resources, Yonhap reported.
The Korean Register of Shipping — a nonprofit ship classification society — and the organization’s Iranian counterpart also agreed to put in place a joint venture to encourage engineering projects, according to Yonhap. The joint venture will also make it more convenient for South Korean firms to tap the Iranian market further.
On Sunday, the South Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Joo Hyung-hwan also met with the Iran's Minister of Economy and Finance Ali Tayeb Nia and signed an initial memorandum of understanding worth 5 billion euros ($5.44 billion) to boost the “bilateral ties particularly with regard to making investments in the country,” according to Mehr News Agency.
Nia reportedly said that Seoul “agreed to undertake a total of approximately 15 billion dollars of financing for implementation of Iranian production plans,” and added that South Koreans were also eager to participate in Iran’s “automaking, oil, gas and tourism industries.”
On Monday, South Korean steelmaker POSCO said it had signed an initial agreement to help build a $1.6 billion steel mill in southeastern Iran, Tasnim News Agency, an Iranian news agency, reported.