New model to fill the gap left by US in Iran economy

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/27 20:44:30

After making a brief, unannounced visit to the G7 summit in France on Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday met with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing.

Wang said that the Chinese side supports all efforts beneficial to safeguarding the Iran nuclear deal and understands the reasonable demands put forward by Iran.

The US is trying to choke off Iran's economic lifeline. Companies doing business with Iran may be also hit with US unilateral action. US President Donald Trump's unilateralism poses obstacles for normal economic cooperation between China and Iran.

China opposes any form of unilateralism. Economic cooperation between Iran and the outside world has been nearly paralyzed. 

It's time to explore new models and areas of cooperation to ease tension in the Gulf region under US sanctions.

The UK, Germany and France provided useful experience when at the beginning of the year, they created a new payment system called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) as an alternative to SWIFT, the backbone for international monetary transfers that is deeply influenced by the US. The US encouraged SWIFT to suspend some Iranian banks' access to its messaging system, but now INSTEX can facilitate international trade with Iran.

China is willing to work with European countries, Japan, India and related parties to establish institutional arrangements like INSTEX to push forward normal economic exchanges with Iran.

Iran's economic cooperation with the outside world has not yet been completely cut off. The first phase of the northwest tourism development project was launched with the cooperation of Japanese tourism specialists, the Iran Daily reported in May. 

China, Japan and related partners have common ground upon which they can establish institutional arrangements to enhance economic cooperation with Iran. 

Related issues can be included on the agenda of multilateral talks such as the China-Japan-South Korea meetings.

An absence of US competition in the Iranian economy is also an opportunity for companies from other countries and regions, including China. If institutional arrangements can be established, China's small and medium-sized private enterprises have a chance to explore potential business opportunities in Iran.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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