The South Korean government supports expansion of trade and economic cooperation with Iran, despite hostile US moves of reinstating unilateral sanctions against Iran and placing pressure on the country.
Speaking to Iran Daily, Pouya Firouzi, the secretary general of Iran-South Korea Chamber of Commerce, further said that efforts are underway by the South Korean government to continue economic cooperation with the Islamic Republic.
He said South Korean officials are negotiating with their US counterparts to receive sanction waivers from Washington to exempt their companies from American penalties in case of collaborating with Iran.
Firouzi said the South Koreans are primarily seeking solutions to prevent a suspension in economic relations with Iran. "Their secondary objective is to maintain normal level of trade with the Islamic Republic."
Trade between the two states has declined to a certain extent as a result of the sanctions, he said, adding that some South Korean companies have inevitably reduced ties with their Iranian counterparts to protect their interests.
Commenting on the non-oil trade between the two Asian states in the year to March 2018, Firouzi noted that last year, Iran exported goods valued at $4.2 billion to South Korea while importing products worth $3.4 billion from that country.
He added this comes as in the 12-month period to March 2017, Iran's exports of non-oil goods to South Korea stood at $2.8 billion.
In this period, Firouzi said, Iran imported non-oil commodities worth $3.3 billion from South Korea.
These figures indicate that in the last fiscal year, which ended March 2018, total economic transactions between the two states witnessed a growth compared to the previous 12-month period while the trade balance shifted in favor of Iran.
During March-July, 2018, Iran's exports to South Korea reached $820 million while Iran's imports from the East Asian country stood at $950 million, he said.
“Iran's oil exports to South Korea in 2016 stood at $4.5 billion. This figure reached $7.8 billion in 2017."
Given the obstacles to trade between Iran and South Korea, Seoul will place increasing trade with Iran in the field of transacting non-sanctioned goods on its agenda, he said.
Firouzi added Iran plans to send an economic delegation to South Korea in November in case Seoul's talks with Washington, on the latter granting waiver from Iran sanctions to the former, produce favorable results.
On the method adopted by the two countries for conducting trade, he said importing products is highly dependent on international trade laws and regulations.
"Nevertheless, US sanctions have created problems for us in this field."
He said at present Iran and South Korea cooperate in the fields of information technology and producing auto spare parts and home appliances.
Iran seeks to receive guarantees from South Korean companies that they will continue providing spare parts and required materials.
He listed Iran's exports to South Korea as oil and its byproducts, gas condensates, petrochemicals as well as minerals including zinc and copper, adding South Korea exports home appliances, auto spare parts and pharmaceuticals to Iran.