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Economy

Agency sees opportunities in Cuba, Iran

TOKYO -- South Korea's trade promotion agency plans to help enterprises make forays into Cuba and Iran amid the easing of economic sanctions on the two countries.

     "Big opportunities are coming to Cuba and Iran, with markets that were once closed due to the sanctions opening up all at once," Jeohong Kim, president of the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, told The Nikkei in an interview.

     Kotra, which opened a Havana office in 2005, will partake in an international fair to be held in Cuba in November, sending a delegation of South Korean companies to survey the market.

     Cuba has seen the U.S. embargo eased since restoring diplomatic ties with its neighbor in July. The South Korean trade body appears to be preparing the ground for Havana-Seoul ties.

     South Korean companies are also actively seeking opportunities in Iran, expecting a gradual lifting of Western sanctions following the recent nuclear agreement. The agency has established a support center for investors to provide information and offer other services.

     Kotra also plans to set up offices in Serbia and Slovakia this year, bringing the total of its foreign bases to 125 in 85 countries and regions. The figures would exceed 73 offices maintained by the Japan External Trade Organization in 54 counties.

     Asked about the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, Kim expressed caution, saying South Korea -- which has expressed interest in joining the pact -- must examine the costs and benefits.

(Nikkei)

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