Iran's plan to invest a total of $2 billion in a major biotech complex in South Korea has received boosts from eased foreign currency transaction rules after President Park Geun-hye's trip to Tehran, Yonhap news agency reported.
Last year, a consortium led by the Iranian government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the government of North Chungcheong Province to pour $2 million in initial investment into Osong Biovalley inside the province's free economic zone.
Located some 130 km south of Seoul, Osong aims to become a global biotech and medical industry hub.
Under the MOU, Iran plans to build a joint research center, drug production lines and a clinical trial hospital in Osong over the next decade.
The long-term project, however, seems to have made little progress, although local officials said the related paperwork and other preparations are still underway.
They held out expectations that it will gain speed as it has become easier for Iranian firms to set up entities here and vice versa thanks to the revised foreign exchange transaction regulations.
The new rules, effective on Monday, allow South Korean and Iranian companies to carry out capital transactions through won-dominated accounts. Previously only current transactions stemming from exports or imports were permitted.
"As the financial conditions have been improved to enable the remittance of investment money, we will actively help the Iranian side implement remaining procedures so that the investment plan can be carried out at an early date," said an official of the North Chungcheong provincial government.
Gov. Lee Si-jong is scheduled to visit Iran and Turkey from May 14-20 as part of efforts to draw investment and help companies based in the province to launch businesses there.
Lee is seeking to forge sisterhood ties between his province and Iran's Mazandaran Province during his trip.
On a landmark visit to the Middle Eastern country earlier this week, Park also produced a set of summit deals to promote economic cooperation between the two sides.