SEOUL, June 27 (Xinhua) — Iran may stop all imports from South Korea in protest against Seoul’s embargo on oil imports from Tehran, local media reported Wednesday.
The Yonhap News Agency quoted Iranian Ambassador Ahmad Masumifar as saying in an interview that the Persian Gulf country “may decide to fully stop importing Korean goods” if South Korea imposes import ban on Iranian oil.
The top envoy of Iran said that Seoul’s measure became “serious obstacles” to exports of South Korean companies to Iran.
The comments came after South Korea will be forced to stop oil imports from Iran starting July 1 as the European Union (EU) will ban insurance on Iran oil shipments.
The EU Foreign Affairs Council decided on Monday to ban any type of insurance for Iranian oil shipments from July 1.
As local shipping firms cannot carry crude without insurance from Europe, South Korea will be forced to ban Iranian oil imports, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.
European insurers are now covering all the protection and indemnity insurance on Iranian oil shipments to South Korea, the ministry said, adding that dependence on European insurers to cover cargo and ships is ranging from 70 to 90 percent.
Regarding this, the Iranian ambassador said that South Korean importers can look to the government for insurance on Iranian oil shipments, citing the case of Japan that recently passed the bill to insure Japanese tankers by up to 7.6 billion U.S. dollars.
South Korea imported 87.18 million barrels of oil from Iran in 2011, up 20.1 percent from a year earlier. Last year’s oil imports from Iran accounted for 9.4 percent of the total.
Exports of Asia’s No.4 economy to the Persian Gulf country continued to grow in recent years — 6.07 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, 4.6 billion dollars in 2010 and 3.99 billion dollars in 2009.
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Editor:James |Source: Xinhua