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Korea to partially lift Iran sanctions

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Published : 2014-03-11 20:39
Updated : 2014-03-11 20:39

Some sectors of South Korea’s business industry will be allowed to resume trading with Iran as policymakers have decided to partly lift a ban on exports to the Middle Eastern country on March 17.

The Finance Ministry said Tuesday that it decided on the policy ― restrictive and will apply only for some service industries ― following the U.S. administration’s recent easing of economic sanctions on Iran for six months between Jan. 20 and July 20 this year.

The ministry said the beneficiaries of the coming ban-lift will be the four sectors of construction, telecommunication, medicine and medical service management, and automobiles. “The service businesses of the four sectors will likely expand, in particular,” said an official who wished to remain anonymous.

“Sectors such as shipbuilding, shipping and harbor facilities will still be subject to the ban as the U.S. continues to monitor Iran’s core business segment for its crude oil exports,” he said.

According to the ministry, the Muslim republic has asked the Korean government to expand exports of “humanitarian” goods including food products and medicines.

Over the past year, the U.S. has sought to deprive the Iranian leadership of billions of dollars by clamping down on what it said were businesses that circumvented existing sanctions.

Washington blacklisted a major network of front companies that served Tehran’s leaders as an enhanced measure to stifle the regime’s nuclear ambitions.

In the wake of the U.S.-led surveillance, which was implemented in July 2013, more than 2,000 small and mid-sized enterprises have suffered sagging exports, according to local analysts.

According to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Iran has about local 2,500 SME trading partners.

It said that more than 600 out of the 2,500 firms see their ratio of exports to Iran ― or dependency on Iran for their respective exports ― exceed 50 percent.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)

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