Iran, China Sign Customs Deal to Boost Trade Ties

Iran, China Sign Customs Deal to Boost Trade Ties
Iran, China Sign Customs Deal to Boost Trade Ties

Tehran and Beijing have signed an agreement to broaden cooperation in customs affairs for increasing bilateral trade ties.
The agreement was signed on Wednesday between the Director General of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration Mehdi Mirashrafi and China’s Deputy Customs Commissioner-General Wang Lingjun during a videoconference call, Fars News Agency reported.
Based on the document, IRICA will introduce measures to expedite customs inspections for companies certified and rated by the Chinese customs office. The Chinese authority will reciprocate the move for Iranian companies authorized by IRICA.
The IRICA chief said the agreement will help minimize customs procedures needed to clear goods exported by authorized merchants of the two countries, which would lower the costs incurred by traders and speed up customs clearance.
Mirashrafi noted that Iran and China would be able to further expand their customs ties in future, as part of a broader agreement signed earlier this year by Iranian and Chinese foreign ministers, which sets out a roadmap for economic cooperation between the two countries for the next 25 years.
“It will be a good start for us to have stronger and more sustainable customs ties with our top trading partner in future,” he added.
China has been the largest importer of Iranian goods while remaining the top exporter into the country in recent years.
The two countries have maintained a smooth flow of trade despite rounds of American sanctions that have targeted Iran and its oil exports since 2018.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi signed the Iran-China comprehensive cooperation document in a meeting in Tehran on March 27, IRNA reported.
The cooperation document had for the first time been discussed in 2015, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran.
In addition to his Iranian counterpart, Wang met Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Ali Larijani, an advisor to Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Wang and Zarif also held talks on bilateral and international issues and explored long-term cooperation and implementation of comprehensive strategic partnership in the meeting.
“Relations between the two countries have now reached the level of strategic partnership and China seeks to comprehensively improve relations with Iran,” Wang was quoted as telling Zarif.
“Our relations with Iran will not be affected by the current situation, but will be permanent and strategic,” Wang said ahead of the televised signing ceremony, referring to US sanctions.
Larijani said in his meeting with the Chinese FM: “Iran decides independently on its relations with other countries and is not like some countries that change their position with one phone call.”
The accord brings Iran into China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure scheme intended to stretch from East Asia to Europe, according to Reuters.
The project aims to significantly expand China’s economic and political influence, and has raised concerns in the United States.
China has spoken out often against US sanctions on Iran and partly contested them. Zarif called it “a friend for hard times”.
The agreement includes Chinese investments in sectors such as energy and infrastructure.
Rouhani expressed appreciation of Beijing’s support for Iran’s position on its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, in which it agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions.
“Cooperation between the two countries is very important for the implementation of the nuclear accord and the fulfilment of obligations by European countries,” Rouhani said.
US President Joe Biden has sought to revive talks with Iran on the nuclear deal abandoned in 2018 by his predecessor, Donald Trump in 2018. Tehran wants the sanctions that Trump imposed removed before any negotiations could resume.
“Under the new administration, the Americans want to reconsider their policy and return to the nuclear accord, and China welcomes their move,” Wang said.
He also promised that China would provide more coronavirus vaccines to Iran, the Middle Eastern country worst-hit by the pandemic.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the agreement was a “roadmap” for trade and economic and transportation cooperation, with a special focus on both countries’ private sectors.



Trade Sinks to Lowest in Five Years

Iran’s commercial exchanges with its leading trading partner, China, stood at $3.2 billion in the first three months of 2021 – the lowest quarterly volume in the past five years – to register a 17% year-on-year decline. 
Latest data released by the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China show Iran’s exports to China totaled $1.47 billion in Q1, indicating an 18.8% YOY decrease.
In return, China exported $1.78 billion worth of commodities to Iran during the same period, indicating a 16.14% decrease compared with the same period of last year. 
Trade between the two countries stood at $980 million in March 2021, considerably lower than $1.4 billion in 2019.
Iran’s exports to China amounted to $523 million in March. The volume stood at $667 million during the corresponding period of last year. 
The country’s imports from China amounted to $528 million in March 2021, which figure stood at $736.6 million in March 2020. 
Iran-China's Q1 2018 trade amounted to $9.97 billion. It decreased by 43.13% to $5.6 billion in Q1 2019, after the reimposition of US sanctions against Iran and America's unilateral withdrawal from the landmark nuclear agreement. 
Iran’s commercial exchanges with China, stood at $14.91 billion in 2020 to register a 35.3% decline compared with the year before. 
As per data provided by the Chinese customs office, Iran’s exports to China totaled $6.4 billion, indicating a 52.4% year-on-year decrease.
In return, China exported $8.51 billion worth of commodities to Iran in 2020, indicating an 11.3% decrease compared with the same period of the year before. 
Trade between the two countries stood at $1.39 billion in December 2020, down from $1.7 billion in December 2019.
Iran’s exports to China amounted to $733.3 million during the month, as imports from China hit $657.2 million. 
Its trade with China in 2019 stood at $23.02 billion to register a decline of 34.3% compared to 2018. It exported $13.43 billion worth of commodities to China, 36.3% less compared to the year before. In return, China exported $9.59 billion worth of goods to Iran, down 31.2% YOY.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints