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S. Korea, Iran reach maritime pact

2016/03/01 16:40

SEOUL, March 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Iran initialed maritime pacts encompassing shipping and fisheries, the government said Tuesday, paving the way for local companies to tap deeper into the oil-rich Middle Eastern country.

The understanding allows ships from the two countries freely pass through the waters of each other's countries and receive equal support in case of emergency, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said.

Seoul and Tehran had initialed a similar pact in 1998, but it was never implemented.

South Korea's export of fishery goods to Iran was estimated at US$21 million last year, which is equal to just 1 percent of the combined fishery export made by Asia's fourth-largest economy.

As the international community recently lifted economic sanctions on Iran, industry watchers expect the Middle East country will roll out maritime projects to develop its natural resources.

The Korean Register of Shipping, a non-profit ship classification society, and its Iranian counterpart also agreed to establish a joint venture to promote plant and engineering projects.

The ministry said the joint venture will allow South Korean firms to penetrate the Iranian market more easily.