Iran, China agree to increase trade ties to $600b in ten years

January 24, 2016 - 0:0

TEHRAN – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that a new chapter has been opened in relations with China, predicting that the value of trade ties between the two countries would reach 600 billion dollars in 10 years.

The remarks by Rouhani came as he held high-profile talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tehran on Saturday.

Xi visited Iran at the head of high-ranking political and economic delegation. His trip came just one week after the nuclear deal between Iran and great powers, which China is a member, went into force.

Beijing is Tehran’s top crude oil customer. The bilateral trade stood at some 52 billion dollars in 2014. However, the figure dropped in 2015 due to decreasing oil prices.

“I am sure from now on an important chapter has been opened in relations between Iran and China,” Rouhani said in a joint press conference with President Xi.

Rouhani said Iran attaches great importance to Xi’s trip to Iran, calling it a “historic event”.

“Ties with China are important to us,” the Iranian president said, adding that the two countries share close views on many international issues.

Rouhani also said he and his Chinese counterpart held talks on “intelligence sharing” in the fight against terrorism.

The two countries also exchanged views about “comprehensive strategic partnership” and formulation of a 25-year comprehensive cooperation document, the Iranian president stated.

In a joint statement issued after the meeting between the two presidents the two sides insisted on the need for campaign against terrorism and resolution of crises through dialogue.

Iran believes there is “no military solution” to the problems in Syria, and Yemen,” Rouhani noted.

They also called for restructuring the global system, indirectly opposing the United States’ unilateral approaches in the world.

“Both sides reaffirm their support for the multi-polarization process of the international system and express their readiness to tackle global challenges and create a world filled with peace and stability,” the presidents of Iran and China said in the joint statement.

China also expressed support for Iran’s campaign against terrorists in the Middle East region. “The Chinese side appreciates Iran’s constructive role in fighting terrorism and establishing regional peace and stability.”

In the statement the two countries described ties as “historical, friendly and strategic”.

“China has been on the side of the Iranian nation in difficult days and this friendly behavior is an asset which should be used for a further development of bilateral ties,” the statement said.

Rouhani also said Iran is ready to invest in projects such as petrochemicals and refineries in China.

Rouhani added with the lifting of sanctions against Iran it is necessary to greatly reform the economic ties between the two countries. “I predict that the volume of economic ties between Tehran and Beijing to reach 600 billion dollars in the next 10 years.”

Xi calls Iran important partner in Middle East

For his part, the Chinese leader said Iran is China’s important partner in the Middle East region.

He called for expansion of ties which serves both countries’ interests.

Xi also stressed China’s support for a peaceful use of nuclear energy by Iran, saying his country is ready to cooperate with Iran in nuclear industry.

“Beijing is ready to boost ties in peaceful nuclear energy with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the Chinese leader noted.

The Chinese side also said Beijing backs Iran’s bid to become a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). “China attaches importance to Iran’s effective role as the regional power and evaluates positively Iran’s role in activities under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and supports Iran’s application for full membership of the Organization.”

Defense cooperation

The two countries also agreed to increase defense and security cooperation.

“Both sides view the enhancement of communications and exchanges between their Armed Forces and Ministries of Defense as contributing to stability and security… and shall upgrade the level of cooperation of the Armed Forces of the two countries through cooperation mechanisms in the fields of human resource training, fighting terrorism and exchange of information, as well as equipment and technology,” according to the

According to the statement, Iran welcomed “the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” initiative introduced by China. 

Iran, China sign 17 cooperation documents and MOUs

In line with the expansion of ties, the senior Iranian and Chinese officials signed 17 cooperation documents and memorandums of understanding.

Among the documents signed were cooperation agreements in nuclear energy, environment protection, mining industry, joint investment, information technology, and one for promoting China’s “Belt and Road” initiative and establishment of the 21st century marine Silk Road.

The Iranian economy minister also signed a cooperation agreement with the Chinese side in line with contributing to “the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” initiative. 

The two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding for financing the high-speed Tehran-Mashhad railway. The MOU was signed between the Iranian transport minister and the governor of China’s Exim Bank (China’s export and import bank).

They also signed an MOU for establishing the Silk Road scientific fund.