TEHRAN - The China Customs has announced that the trade exchanges between Iran and China stood at more than $2.8 billion from January to February 2024.

 

According to the latest data released by China Customs on Thursday, trade between Iran and China in the first two months of 2024 amounted to $2.879 billion, marking a 37 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

China exported $2.5 billion worth of products to Iran and imported $829 million from Iran from January to February 2024, representing a 45 percent and 20 percent year-over-year increase, respectively.

Analysts believe that China's imports from Iran may be even higher than $829 million, as the purchase of Iranian oil by Chinese refiners is not included in the official statistics of the country's imports from Iran.

The value of trade between Iran and China in 2023 exceeded $14.6 billion, registering a 6.2 percent decline compared to 2022, according to China’s Customs data.

Based on the mentioned data, the two countries exchanged $14.650 billion worth of products in 2023, while the value of trade between the two countries stood at $15.5 billion in 2022.

Iran’s exports to China in December 2023 registered a 30-percent growth compared to the same period a year earlier.

China exported $10.70 billion worth of products to Iran from January to December 2023, indicating an 8.6 percent growth.

According to the Chinese customs data, The Asian country exported $9.270 billion worth of products to Iran from January to December 2022.

China’s import of products from Iran fell from $6.230 billion in 2022 to $4.580 billion in 2023, showing a 27 percent decline.

The balance of trade exchanges between the two countries reached about $5.5 billion in 2023 in favor of China.

The value of the trade between Iran and China in December 2023 hit $1.251 billion, showing a four percent growth compared to the previous year’s corresponding period.

China is one of Iran’s main trade partners that has maintained strong trade ties with the Islamic Republic despite the strict U.S. sanctions.

Iran’s Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ehsan Khandouzi said the 25-year strategic partnership plan between Iran and China has entered a new phase with new agreements being reached between various ministries of the two countries.

According to Khandouzi, the mentioned agreements have been reached between the two sides during the visit of Iran’s delegation to the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE).

“Specific projects were defined between the government departments of the respective ministries of Iran and China, and agreements were reached on the details of the implementation of the mentioned projects,” Khandouzi said.

Regarding the private sectors of the two countries, some Iranian companies operating in China and some large Chinese companies operating in Iran faced obstacles, which were discussed and resolved by the relevant authorities, he explained.

“We are going to witness a significant growth in economic cooperation and investment between the two sides with the implementation of these projects,” the minister noted.

Headed by Iran’s First Vice President, Mohammad Mokhber, a senior delegation comprised of Economy Minister Ehsan Khandouzi, Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister Abbas Aliabadi, as well as the deputies of various ministries and the economic deputy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited China in early November, 2023 to attend the 6th CIIE.

Iran and China officially signed the document for 25-year comprehensive cooperation in March 2021.

The document was signed between Iran’s former Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Back in December 2022, Iran and China finalized 16 memorandums of understanding (MOU) under the framework of the two countries’ strategic 25-year agreement.

The MOUs were signed in an Iran-China comprehensive cooperation program summit which was held in Tehran on December 13 in the presence of Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber and China’s Vice Premier Hu Chunhua.

The summit was focused on four areas explored by four committees between the two countries with the aim of paving the way for the implementation of the 25-year agreement.

Iran and China also signed 20 memoranda of understanding in the presence of the presidents of the two countries in Beijing in mid-February, 2023.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi was on a three-day state visit to China starting February 14, 2023.

During President Raisi's visit to China, Tehran and Beijing signed a number of bilateral cooperation documents in the fields of agriculture, trade, tourism, environmental protection, health, disaster relief, culture, and sports.

The documents include agreements in the field of transportation and industry worth $12 billion and $3.5 billion, respectively; the agreements cover various joint projects like the high-speed rail link between Tehran and Mashhad, and investment in the Imam Khomeini Airport City.

Investment in Iran's southeastern Mokran Coast and the purchase of Iranian oil were also mentioned in the documents.

Raisi's visit served as an example of the high level of mutual trust between China and Iran, as well as a milestone for bilateral ties.

Then in mid-July, 2023, the agreements signed between Iran and China during President Raisi’s trip to Beijing in mid-February were turned into specified projects during the two countries’ joint cooperation committee meeting, the Iranian finance and economic affairs minister announced.

Ehsan Khandouzi left Tehran for Beijing on July 12, 2023 to attend the Iran-China Joint Cooperation Committee meeting, which was held after four and half years.

“With the constructive atmosphere of the committee, we will soon witness good events in the fields of business and investment”, the official wrote on his Twitter account on July 16, 2023.

Khandouzi further announced that Iran and China are going to begin the execution of some joint projects agreed upon in February by the presidents of the two countries, as of the following month.

According to the minister, the necessary follow-ups regarding the mentioned projects have been made over the last five months and the final decisions for the start of their implementations were made during a joint business event on July 13, 2023.

“President Raisi had an important trip to Beijing last winter and good agreements were made with the president of China; in this regard, the necessary follow-ups were made by various ministries during the last five months, and on Thursday (July 13) the first joint committee between Iran and China was held after 4.5 years,” Khandouzi said.

“China is Iran's largest trading partner and the most important destination for the export of Iranian goods and an important part of our imports are also from China. Last year, China's share in Iran's (non-oil) trade was 24 percent,” the minister added.

Back in early April, 2023, the Chinese ambassador to Tehran said: "This year is a good year for Iran-China relations."

Chang Hua made the remarks in a meeting with the members of the Iran-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and a number of Iranian traders and businessmen, who conduct trade with China, held at the place of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture (ICCIMA) in Tehran.

Referring to China's growing economy, the envoy said this year is a good year for Iran-China relations, adding that during the meeting between the leaders of the two countries, important agreements were made, including the implementation of the 25-year cooperation agreement between the two countries, and a number of bilateral cooperation documents were signed in the fields of agriculture, tourism, culture, relief, and rescue, etc.

Majid-Reza Hariri, the head of the Iran-China Joint Chamber, also emphasized the desire of Iran's private sector to develop business relations with China and said there are obstacles in this direction. Among other things, issuing visas for Iranian businessmen, especially for their presence at trade fairs in China, is associated with problems, and facilitating it will definitely help the development of relations between the two sides.