Economy, Domestic Economy

Xi’s Iran Visit to Promote Chinese Businesses

Xi’s Iran Visit to Promote Chinese Businesses
Xi’s Iran Visit to Promote Chinese Businesses

With the end of economic sanctions on Tehran in sight, Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to visit Iran late in January to prepare the way for businesses to follow.

Xi hopes to be the first foreign leader traveling to Iran after the sanctions are lifted, diplomatic sources revealed, with potential stops in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Around 100 business leaders, mostly from state-owned resource companies, are expected to accompany him to Iran, Japanese English-language business journal Nikkei Asian Review reported on its website.

Tehran agreed to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief in a July deal with the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the sanctions could be lifted within days. Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said the restrictions could end soon.

Iran boasts not only rich reserves of oil, natural gas and other resources, but also a potential market of roughly 78 million people.

Tightly restricted oil exports and trade are expected to boom once the sanctions are gone. International companies that have held back on doing business in Iran are eying opportunities for rapid expansion into the market.

Xi aims to establish friendly relations early on to back Chinese corporations’ efforts there. With many Iranian conservatives still staunchly against importing American products, Chinese businesses could gain an opening to win significant market share.

Tehran also hopes to strengthen ties with Beijing, which took a softer line in the nuclear talks, to continue smooth negotiations with the other five countries.

Visiting Iran from Friday to Sunday, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. They pledged cooperation in areas, including infrastructure, trade and energy, as well as collaboration on China’s “One Belt, One Road” trade route initiative.