Iran, China find solutions for banking problems under US sanctions

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 29.11.2018 01:16
Updated 29.11.2018 08:00

Iran and China have found ways to overcome the banking problems emanating from the U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran, Iran-China Chamber of Commerce and Industries Chairman Asadollah Asgaroladi announced in an interview with Iran's semi-official news agency Tasnim.

"As of Dec. 2, a Chinese bank will begin banking transactions with Iran," he added, not disclosing the name of the Chinese bank.

According to Asgaroladi, Iran's oil sales to China will start next week and Tehran will begin receiving the oil income within the next month. The Iranian business magnate also stated that China is planned to announce a second bank for interaction with Iran next month.

Asgaroladi's comments came a few days after reports that China will restart loading Iranian crude in November after it halted purchases in October.

The Chinese government had previously ordered at least two state-owned companies to halt buying Iranian oil in the lead-up to the Nov. 4 sanctions review deadline.

The decision to resume oil purchases from the third-largest exporter of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) came four weeks after U.S. Departments of State and Treasury announced a list of eight countries that were granted a six-month exemption from the U.S. sanctions on the Iranian oil. In addition to China, Turkey, Italy, Greece, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan also secured a waiver from the sanctions.

One of the channels Iran used to maintain trade with its biggest oil customer China from 2012 to 2015 was Kunlun Bank controlled by the financial arm of Chinese state energy group CNPC. Kunlun Bank was among the financial institutions sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2012. The Chinese bank had been reported to suspend euro-denominated payments from Iran in late August.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump are scheduled to meet at the G20 Leaders' Summit in Argentina that will kick off tomorrow.

President Trump reinstated U.S. sanctions on Iran which had been removed with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) endorsed by the P5+1 countries - the U.S., the U.K., France, China, Russia and Germany - along with the EU in 2015.

The first round of sanctions came into effect on Aug. 6, prohibiting the Iranian government from buying U.S. dollars, conducting trade transactions in gold or other valuable metals and investing in Iranian debt. These sanctions also target Iran's steel and aluminum sectors as they forbid the country's trade of aluminum, steel, graphite, coal and certain types of software. The second round of sanctions hitting Iranian automotive and oil industries took effect on Nov. 4.

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