China and Iran Agreed to Expand Trade and Bilateral Cooperation
In his visit to Iran, China's president Xi Jinping and Hassan Rouhani, Iranian president agreed to extend trade and cooperation between the two countries. Prior to visit Iran, Xi has visited Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
President Xi Jinping ended his five-days Middle East trip in Iran. On Saturday, he met the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to discuss expansion of trade and cooperation between the Asian economic giant and the second-largest oil producer in the Middle East.
According to Channel News Asia president Xi Jinping told IRNA that, "Iran is China's major partner in the Middle East and the two countries have chosen to boost bilateral relations." Xi then added, "China and Iran are two important developing countries that must continue regional and international cooperation."
In his visit to Tehran, president Xi and his counterpart Rouhani signed 17 documents and letters of intent. Those documents include treaties on judicial, commercial and civil matters. Both countries also discussed energy and mining sectors.
China is the important market for Iranian oil, and the exports was under sanctions because of Tehran's nuclear programme. Now, as the sanctions have been lifted, Iran expects to increase trade with China. In 2014, trade between Iran and China was worth $52 billion, and Iran hopes to boost the number to help its ailing economy.
"Today we discussed the strategic relationship between both countries, setting up a comprehensive 25-year plan and also promoting bilateral relations of up to $600 billion over the next 10 years," Rouhani said as quoted by Bloomberg.
In his visit to Iran, President Xi Jinping become the first China's leader to visit Iran in 14 years. Before visiting Iran, President Xi also visited Iran's rival Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
China is seeking to revive its ancient trade route Silk Road with its "One Belt, One Road" campaign. As part of the initiative, according to South China Morning Post, China has agreed to give Iran financial aid to help building the first Iranian high-speed train system.
In regard to his "One Belt, One Road" initiative and revival of Silk Road's ancient trade route, Channel News Asia quoted president Xi said that, "Countries on the Silk Road route can protect their interests against the American pattern of disrupting the regional economic balance by boosting cooperation."
China and its Silk Road revival initiative have quickly made its marks in Iran, right after the sanctions against the Persian country is lifted. Trade extension with Iran to a $600 billion value in the next 10 years showed China is really serious in establishing its presence in Middle East.