Korean Businesses Hopeful as Iran Sanctions Ease

The U.S. and EU have decided to ease some economic sanctions against Iran for six months starting next Monday as the Middle Eastern country rolls back part of its nuclear program.

Korean companies have pricked up their ears since that heralds increased business opportunities, since the measure affects cars, precious metals and petrochemical products.

Car parts makers will likely benefit noticeably as they posted a strong performance in trade with Iran before international sanctions came into force in July. Building firms and plant makers are also preparing to return to the Iranian market, while the petrochemical industry is seeking more imports of oil from Iran and exports of refined oil products to the country.

Until 2012, Korea was Iran's fourth largest trade partner. Trade volume between the two sides grew for a decade before plummeting in July, when Korea had to stop exports of its flagship products such as cars and steel due to U.S. financial sanctions based on the National Defense Authorization Act involving countries that import oil from Iran.

It remains to be seen whether the temporary measure will lead to lifting more sanctions. As financial sanctions remain, banks here will not benefit yet.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 15, 2014 12:33 KST