China urged to provide Iranian businesses with bank and insurance facilities

Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct.30/ Trend F.Karimov/

Iranian parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has urged China to provide Iranian business people with bank and insurance facilities, the Mehr News Agency reported.

Iran should assure China of expanding trade and that country should secure bank and insurance facilities, Larijani said at a meeting with employees of Iranian entities in Beijing.

The new Iranian administration has opened a new page in Tehran-Beijing relations. I think the two sides are interested in expanding economic and industrial relations, he added.

China owes Iran €22 billion in oil and gas debt, Iranian vice president for planning and strategic supervision Mohammad Baqer Nobakht has said.

The U.S. stepped up sanctions against Iran over the past decade in response to Western charges that Tehran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons which the Iranians deny. In late 2011, Congress passed a law penalising financial institutions that conduct oil trade with Iran's Central Bank by banning them from doing business in the U.S.

However, the State Department was given the flexibility to exempt countries that show a 'significant', though unspecified reduction in Iranian crude purchases. The state has repeatedly given exemptions to China on the grounds that Beijing is buying less crude oil from Iran. China won its third such six-month waiver in June.

On August 2, China repeated its opposition to tougher U.S. sanctions on Iran after the House of Representatives approved a bill aimed at halting Iran's oil exports.

Customs data shows China imported 2.75 million barrels of Iranian fuel oil in September, bringing total imports to 8.14 million barrels worth $736 million in the first nine months of this year. By contrast, it imported less than $1 million worth of fuel oil in all of 2012.

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