Trade between Iran and South Korea fell by 16.5% y/y to $5.126bn in the first six months of this year, ILNA reported the Korean Customs Service as saying on July 15.
Until recently, South Korea was one of the largest importers of Iranian crude—from November 2017 to April 2018 it was the third largest buyer, importing slightly more than 300,000 b/d, according to Bloomberg tanker tracking—but it has heeded warnings from Washington that it should cut its trade with the Islamic Republic in the run-up to the introduction of the Trump administration’s new heavy sanctions targeted at Tehran which will kick in in two phases in August and November. US policy towards Iran includes a drive to almost stamp out its oil exports by the end of this year.
The Republic of Korea exported $1.72bn worth of goods to Iran in the first half of 2018, down 15% y/y.
Its imports from Iran hit $3.4bn in the same time span, down 17% y/y.
The decline in bilateral trade comes after a bumper 2017, with exports of Korean goods like electronics and vehicles flowing to Iran and exports of Iranian oil and petrochemicals heading to Korea. The Iran-South Korea trade volume hit $12bn last year, up 43.6% y/y.
IMF figures show that the most valuable destination for Iranian exports in 2017 was China at towards €16bn. Third was India at just over €8bn, fourth was South Korea at a little more than €6bn and fourth was Turkey, also at slightly more than €6bn.
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