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Iran Denies Korean Import Applications

Posted October. 21, 2005 03:04,   


The confusion surrounding an Iranian import ban on Korean products does not seem likely to be resolved any time soon. It has shown a willingness to resume Korean imports, while suspending three applications for import permission.

The Korea Trade Center of Teheran announced on October 20 that it had been told by Iranian Trade Ministry that it could resume imports of Korean products during a phone call on October 19, but Iran suspended three import permission applications on the same day.

“One application out of four was accepted, and the grounds for the three suspensions were stated as simply, ‘to enhance inspection,’ which means the import ban has been alleviated in part,” said the center. “As October 20 and 21 are public holidays here, its official position will be revealed after October 22.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade urgently called in Iranian Ambassador in Seoul Jahanbaksh Mozaffari to the ministry office to inform him of the cases of suspended customs clearances and to ask for immediate address. He answered, “I have not heard from the Iranian government that it imposed import prohibitions on Korean products,” and explained, “It is not a retaliatory action against Korea’s voting for U.N. resolutions against Iran’s nuclear program, but a practical mistake, a working-level miscommunication.”

The ministry announced Vice Minister Lee Kyu-hyung will be dispatched to Iran early next week to have negotiations with Iranian authorities.

Meanwhile, the KITA (Korea International Trade Association) said on the same day that the Iranian ban will not have a serious impact on the total exports of Korea, but is expected to deal a heavy blow on some export-depending industries such as refrigerators, synthetic resins, and auto components.

Jae-Dong Yu Jung-Ahn Kim jarrett@donga.com credo@donga.com