TEHRAN, Nov. 21 (Press Shia Agency) – South Korean Ambassador to Iran Kim Seung-Ho pointed to the signs of gradual increase in the level of investment by Korean companies in Iran, emphasizing that the Seoul is pursuing the activity of foreign rivals in the Iranian market, especially in the car market.
Kim Seung-Ho underlined that if Iran provides a good environment for foreign companies, they will not hesitate to come here.
“Iran needs to make the environment more conducive to absorb foreign investment; it should provide some good incentives and of course make the environment more predictable and transparent,” he told in an exclusive interview with Meher News correspondent:
Some people say that the recent finance contracts between Iran and South Korea are in exchange for Iran oil. Is it correct and if not, what guarantees did you get from Iran to offer this finance?
Well it is like that Korea’s Eximbank is committed to make a loan up to €8b to the Iranian projects. In order to use this €8b, the Iranian and Korean companies should apply their common projects to the Korea’s Eximbank. Then the bank reviews if the project is really profitable or not.
So there are not any special guarantees. In fact, that application is better to be applied by a company which has the Iranian government guarantee. With Iranian government guarantee, the Korea’s Eximbank is much more relieved to make a loan and off course the Iranian government is willing to give this national guarantee if this kind of project is good for Iranian economic development as well as Iranian government priority. If some people submit projects which don’t match Iran’s priorities, then how to expect the Korean government make a loan.
Korea wants to change the economic relation from trade to investment. The trade is like gluing tow things but investment is rather a chemical reaction.
Iran’s ministry of industry has put some limitation on Korean goods especially the house appliances. Actually, we want you to set up the production lines here in Iran. In which stage do you stand at the moment?
First of all, Korea wants to change the economic relation from trade to investment. The trade is like gluing tow things but investment is rather a chemical reaction. When tow materials are chemically reacted then it is almost impossible to detach them. So Korean government urges Korean companies to do more investment in Iran. But we can’t go further because the government can’t enforce its will. It falls on companies to decide if they want to put their money here in Iran or not. Recently, Iran Khodro and Hyundai agreed to start a joint venture to produce the gearbox. It is a kind of investment by a Korean company. And there are also 2 or 3 investment negotiations I can’t reveal the details but surly and off course slowly the Korean companies become motivated to invest here in Iran. Money is like the water. So money flows towards a place you can increase it. So if Iran provides a good environment for foreign companies, they don’t hesitate to come here. Iran needs to make the environment more conducive to absorb foreign investment. It should provide some good incentives and off course make the environment more predictable and transparent. Let me come up with a simple example. Here in Iran there are not enough schools for foreign children. So when it happens to Korean companies to send their representatives to Iran everybody is reluctant. So we send someone here who has not very young children.
Iran insists on technology transfer especially when it comes to talking about auto market. Shall we expect that the collaboration between Iran and South Korea goes further than montage automotive industry?
I don’t have the specific information if the Korean car companies will make a deal for production line here in Iran but the assembly line is already working in here. You should know that even in Korea in 1970-80, we started our automobile industry by introducing assembly lines of foreign companies. Then little by little we reached our own technic and then managed to start our production. We are closely watching how our European and chines competitors doing in Iranian market. So the Korean companies don’t abandon the Iranian car market.
Here in Iran there are not enough schools for foreign children. So when it happens to Korean companies to send their representatives to Iran everybody is reluctant. So we send someone here who has not very young children.
let’s take look a look at the Korean Peninsula. What is going on in the region? Are you optimistic about diplomacy (in the North Korean nuclear issue)?
Nothing but the tension which goes back to more than 60 years ago. The same kind of situation we are really accustomed to. Up to now, we have managed to keep this tension at a certain level so that it doesn’t lead to a real violence. We continue to seek diplomacy.
As a diplomat I can’t predict but I can say for sure that Korean government is too much committed to solve whatever problem through dialogue. No matter how long it may take, no matter how much effort we need to make, the Korean government position is to stick to the dialogue and we continue to ask North Korean side not to be doubtful about our sincerity. We are the brothers and they need to come to the desk and start the talk. This is our basic tradition and this tradition has been maintained over 60 years and will remain the same way.
What about the role of other countries in the North Korean crisis?
Many countries in the world including china are working in concert to show international commitment to the UN regulations. This is not a bilateral issue but an international one. I hope most of the UN nations will abide with the regulations.
By: Maryam Khormaei and Mahbubeh Fakouri