World must work together to fight US sanctions abuse

By Wang Jiamei Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/26 20:03:40

An Iranian cleric and a young man walk past a mural of the national flag in Tehran on Tuesday. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the US to "take the first step" by lifting all sanctions against Iran, dampening the likelihood of meeting US President Donald Trump. Photo: AFP

The US is imposing new sanctions on five Chinese nationals and six Chinese companies for shipping Iranian oil, the US Treasury Department announced on Wednesday. 

It is not the first time that the US has blacklisted Chinese companies over Iran. 

In July, the US issued the first sanctions against Zhuhai Zhenrong, one of China's largest oil traders, after having ended the sanctions waivers for nations importing Iranian oil.

According to a Thursday statement from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China has and will continue to take necessary measures to firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese entities.

The Chinese government can, of course, provide support like tax breaks or cheap financing to the blacklisted companies, but more fundamentally, the US abuse of unilateral sanctions on other countries and companies highlights the need for China to strengthen anti-sanction cooperation with the international community.

It should be made clear that a call for joint anti-sanction efforts is not meant to establish a new global system to confront the US, but that it is time to somehow restrain the unilateral hegemony of the US, which cannot be that unscrupulous in imposing sanctions on any country, entity or individual. In this sense, all businesses around the world that have been affected by the US sanctions are encouraged to take proper anti-sanction measures and strengthen cooperation instead of silently complying. 

If a large number of companies are involved in the anti-sanction effort and they are strong enough, then the entire sanction regime will fall apart.

The fear of being sanctioned comes from the US dominance of the global financial system, backed by the US dollar-based global settlement and payment system SWIFT. 

As such, it is necessary for China to establish its own payment system and put it into practical usage as soon as possible, which could weaken the US financial dominance and stop its abuse of sanctions. Such a payment system may also allow companies to keep trading with countries and companies sanctioned by the US.

While it is not difficult to build such a global financial payment network with a similar function as SWIFT in terms of the technology, a successful international payment platform must be based on genuine global trade, monetary investment, and real participants. 

In this sense, China needs to strengthen cooperation with other economies, such as European countries, the Middle East, Russia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Africa and other economic alliances, to establish a joint global payment, clearance and settlement system to resist the US financial hegemony. 

Especially, European countries like France, Germany and the UK can make good partners considering the fact that the three have already developed a special purpose vehicle, known as the Paris-based Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, which is now operating to help European companies circumvent US sanctions.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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