Economy, Business And Markets

‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ Forum Opens in Tehran

‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ Forum Opens in Tehran
‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ Forum Opens in Tehran

A forum titled “Silk Road Economic Belt” opened in Tehran on Tuesday with focus on friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and the Islamic Republic, Chinese state-owned news agency China News Service reported on its official English language website on Wednesday.

“China and Iran are countries with great civilization, and the long history of friendly exchanges between them has laid a solid foundation for the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative,” He Xingliang, counselor of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, said at the forum held in Tehran’s Niavaran Cultural Center.

“There is a great potential and broad prospect for bilateral cooperation, especially in the fields of resources and technology,” the Chinese official added.

For his part, Head of Iran-China Friendship Association Ahmad Mohammadi hailed the role of China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative in the interaction between the two sides. He said the interaction s has long existed, but has taken new dimensions with the initiative.

“The proposal has been well received in Iran, and the Islamic Republic is preparing to accept the proposal,” Mohammadi said.

In a visit to Beijing earlier this month to attend the 16th session of the Iran-China Joint Economic Commission, Iran’s Economy Minister Ali Tayyebnia said Iran hopes to “maintain an active role” in the Belt and Road initiative.

“Iran has identified projects for Chinese investment both for the land and maritime Silk Road. We hope to start discussions on those projects as soon as possible,” he was quoted as saying.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road, also known as The Belt and Road (abbreviated B&R), One Belt, One Road (abbreviated OBOR) or the Belt and Road Initiative is a development strategy and framework, proposed by Chinese leader Xi Jinping in 2013 that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries primarily between the People’s Republic of China and the rest of Eurasia.

It consists of two main components, the land-based “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) and oceangoing “Maritime Silk Road” (MSR). The strategy underlines China’s push for a bigger role in global affairs, and its need for priority cooperation in areas such as steel manufacturing.

The initiative aims to connect China to Europe via Iran, Kazakhstan and Pakistan.

Also on Tuesday, a Chinese cultural festival opened in Tehran with the aim to promote Sino-Iran exchanges and cooperation.

The one-week event, titled “2016 Experience China in Iran,” features China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region through a photo exhibition and cultural activities.

China is Iran’s biggest trade partner. Bilateral trade reached $17.6 billion during the last Iranian year (ended in March), with Iran’s exports to China standing at $7.23 billion, showing a 23% decline and imports amounting to $10.45 billion, down 22%.