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S. Korean goods' presence in Iran falls amid rise of China

All News 10:03 January 24, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korean products' market presence in Iran has fallen over the past few years despite increased exports volume, data showed Sunday, due to China increasing its sales at a faster pace.

According to the data compiled by the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), South Korea's exports to Iran reached US$4.14 billion in 2014, up 8.3 percent on-year.

South Korea's share in Iran's imports, however, fell 0.5 percentage point over the cited period to 7.9 percent.

China, on the other hand, emerged as the No. 1 player with a market share of 23.4 percent in 2014, beating the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which posted 22.1 percent for the first time.

"South Korea's market share in the Iranian market has fallen for three consecutive years as of 2014," an official from KOTRA said. "There is still hope, however, in the autopart, petrochemical, information-communications technology, machinery and steel segments for South Korea."

Industry watchers added China's increased exports to Iran were in line with state-level support, as well as its improved political presence with the United States.

The United Nations lifted most economic sanctions against Iran earlier this month in a follow-up to a nuclear deal, casting a brighter outlook for companies seeking to tap the market.

Iran boasts the world's fourth-largest known crude oil deposits and ranks No. 1 in terms of natural gas reserves. With a population of nearly 80 million, the country has traditionally been a large market for South Korean cars, electronics, consumer appliances and cosmetics.

colin@yna.co.kr
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