Economy, Business And Markets

Forum Highlights China’s Role in Iranian Recovery

Forum Highlights China’s Role in Iranian RecoveryForum Highlights China’s Role in Iranian Recovery

Senior officials and trade association leaders from China and Iran have called for reinforcing Beijing’s role in revitalizing infrastructure and trade in Iran.

China is well positioned for this since the country has been “a friend” during hard times, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying by China Daily.

During an official visit to China, Zarif made the statement late Tuesday at the Iran-China Business Forum, a gathering of more than 300 corporate delegates.

Zarif said Iran is a “safe country” that is “now ready for more Chinese investment”.

“Tehran will offer good terms to boost bilateral corporate exchanges,” he added.

The visit was made at a time when China’s role has been highlighted in helping the oil-rich Middle Eastern country address the poor condition of its infrastructure after the lifting of international sanctions in January. The sanctions were imposed 10 years earlier over Iran’s nuclear program.

In the latest measure of progress in energy cooperation, Iran’s deputy oil minister, Abbas Kazemi, said in Tehran on Wednesday that Iran and China will jointly launch a $3 billion project to develop and improve Abadan Refinery, Iran’s Mehr News Agency reported.

Jiang Zengwei, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said the two countries should “expand trade in crude oil and petroleum products and conduct technology transfers and personnel training”.

Also, they should work together more closely in oil exploration and refinery and equipment manufacturing, he said.

China has become Iran’s largest trade partner, largest oil buyer and one of its major sources of foreign investment, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.

China imported up to 300 million tons of crude oil from the country last year.

“Chinese firms are well situated to work on infrastructure projects such as railroads, roads, ports and power plants in Iran, given that they possess leading technology and ample capital,” Jiang said.

According to Jiang, China’s production capacity cooperation with Iran could also play an important role in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road are a development strategy proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries, primarily between China and the rest of Eurasia.

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.

Gholamhossein Shafei, chairman of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, said there are opportunities for the countries to work on financial exchanges, capital flow and visa procedures.

The two sides can boost manufacturing cooperation, given that “Chinese companies could shift some of their production operations to Iran” to make goods that could be exported globally, Shafei said. Zarif and his accompanying economic delegation ended their three-nation tour of Asia in Japan after having visited India and China.

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