Domestic Economy

China’s Interests Won’t Be Jeopardized by Nuclear Deal

China’s Interests Won’t Be  Jeopardized by Nuclear Deal China’s Interests Won’t Be  Jeopardized by Nuclear Deal

China’s presence in the Iranian market will not be undermined in view of Iran and the West normalizing relations following a possible  nuclear agreement that is expected by late June, head of Iran-China Joint Chamber of Commerce Asadollah Asgaroladi said on Monday.

“Neither Iranians nor the Chinese are worried about Iran’s possible nuclear agreement with the P5+1 (five permanent members of Security Council plus Germany). Both countries have developed long term ties based on mutual interest. China will maintain its position in the Iranian market even if it is to be challenged by the West,” he was quoted by Mehr news agency as saying.

Referring to China’s role in nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 in which China is an influential member, he said: “China tried to play a constructive role in negotiations.” He dismissed widespread speculations among Iranians that China was opposing the deal due to its own interests.

After months of negotiations Iran and the P5+1 reached a framework for an agreement to end a decade-long standoff over Iran’s nuclear energy program. According to the plan, Iran is to scale back the number of its installed centrifuges, in return for the United States and the European Union lifting the current sanctions regime.

Asgaroladi further said trade between Iran and China reached nearly $52 billion last year, noting that both countries have planned to increase the turnover by 10% to reach $60 billion during the current year (started 21 March).

China is reported to have benefited the most from the Iranian market after giant European firms left the Iranian market in the wake of intensifying tensions between Iran and the West over Iran’s nuclear energy program.  

According to the Chinese General Administration of Customs, trade between Iran and China amounted to $51.85 billion in 2014, which indicates a 72 percent rise from $39.54 billion in 2013.  

Iran exported $27.49 billion worth of products to China and imported $24.36 billion in 2014. According to the Iran Customs Administration, China was reported to be the leading importer of Iranian non-oil goods in the previous Iranian calendar year. Iran exported $7.43 billion of non-oil goods to China and imported $9.66 billion of non-oil goods from the country.

Iran mainly imports from China goods pertaining to roads, power plants, petrochemicals, machinery, locomotive and wagon. Iran’s top exports to China include gas condensates, petrochemicals, minerals, iron ore and decorative stones. Pistachio, carpet, saffron and date are among other Iranian goods which have good market in China.

Pointing to the upcoming official visit to Iran by Chinese premier, Asgaroladi said: “The exact date of his trip will be specified and finalized next week.”

He further said that Chinese credit lines have already been opened for Iranian projects, adding: “Between $4-5 billion from the Chinese LCs have already been channeled into Iranian projects since past two months.”

Iran’s Vice President Mohammad Bagher Nobakht recently said $22 billion worth of assets has been blocked in China due to the western sanctions against Iran. The frozen money is expected to be used by the Chinese to finance Iranian projects.  In recent years, China has financed many Iranian projects, especially in the oil and petrochemical industries. Earlier, it was announced that efforts are underway to secure a credit line from China to fund renovation of Iran’s oldest oil refinery.