DHAKA: Iranian Ambassador to China Mahdi Safari says that the Islamic Republic and China plan to increase the value of bilateral trade to $70 billion in five years, reports said.
Speaking to a group of Iranian journalists visiting China, Safari commented on Iran’s opportunity to attract Chinese investors and said that over the past two years, the Chinese investment in Iran has risen from $120 million to $650 million.
He added that Chinese companies are keen to directly invest in Iran in various sectors, including mine industry, Tehran Times publishes on Monday.
The veteran diplomat also described China’s fast-growing market as a good destination for Iranian goods and said Iran can export carpets, handicrafts, medicinal herbs, jewelry, and food items to the country.
He also emphasised that Iran should attach high significance to the export of carpets to China, saying if Iran does so the market can saturate ‘all of our export markets’.
Safari also denied claims that Tehran is selling cheap oil to China and said Iran sells oil to the country at market price, adding any report claiming that Tehran sells cheap oil to Beijing is just a rumour.
The ambassador said China buys 10 to 12 percent of oil needs from Iran and now the two countries have signed five to seven-year contracts for oil purchase.
He also expressed hope that trade ties between the two countries would be cemented in the near future.
According to data from the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs, China’s oil imports from Iran increased by 17 percent to 2.6 million tons in June with the Asian country importing about 635,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day, Press TV reported.
On June 6, Iranian Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade and China’s Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) signed a memorandum of understanding to expand industrial cooperation with the economic giant.
BDST: 2120 HRS, AUG 13, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor