China of­fers $10bn credit line to Iran

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

BEI­JING:

A Chi­nese state-owned in­vest­ment firm has pro­vided a $10 bil­lion credit line for Ira­nian banks, Iran’s cen­tral bank pres­i­dent said yes­ter­day. The con­tract was signed in Bei­jing be­tween China’s CITIC in­vest­ment group and a del­e­ga­tion of Ira­nian banks led by cen­tral bank pres­i­dent Vali­ol­lah Seif.

The Iran Daily said the funds would fi­nance wa­ter, en­ergy and trans­port projects. Iran is vi­tal to China’s trade am­bi­tions as it de­vel­ops its tril­lion-dol­lar “One Belt, One Road” strat­egy aimed at dra­mat­i­cally boost­ing its ties to Europe and Africa.

In ad­di­tion to the credit line, the Ex­port-Im­port Bank of China com­mit­ted to a fur­ther $10 bil­lion in loans, while the China Devel­op­ment Bank signed pre­lim­i­nary deals with Iran for $15 bil­lion in in­fra­struc­ture and pro­duc­tion projects, Seif an­nounced. The con­tracts re­flect “a strong will for con­tin­u­a­tion of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries,” Seif said.

In to­tal, China has agreed to al­lo­cate $35 bil­lion in fi­nanc­ing and loans for Iran’s econ­omy, state news agency IRNA quoted Seif as say­ing. The credit line will use eu­ros and yuan to help by­pass US sanc­tions that have con­tin­ued de­spite the nu­clear deal be­tween Iran and world pow­ers in 2015.

China was a sig­na­tory to the deal that lifted sanc­tions in ex­change for curbs to Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping vis­ited Iran a week af­ter it came into ef­fect, vow­ing to boost bi­lat­eral trade to $600 bil­lion within a decade. Al­though trade was just $31 bil­lion in 2016, it jumped more than 30 per­cent in the first six months of 2017. China is al­ready Iran’s big­gest oil cus­tomer and ac­counts for a third of its over­all trade. Since the lift­ing of sanc­tions, Bei­jing has opened two credit lines worth $4.2 bil­lion to build high-speed rail­way lines link­ing Tehran with Mash­had and Is­fa­han, the Iran Daily re­ported. — AFP

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