|Iran, China ink industrial cooperation deal||
TEHRAN - Iranian Ministry of Trade, Mine and Industry and Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) signed a deal in Beijing today to expand industrial cooperation.
According to the deal, the MCC will launch 12 new industrial and mineral projects in Iran, the IRNA News Agency report, adding that the Chinese corporation is currently implementing five industrial plans in the country.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, accompanied by Trade, Mine and Industry Minister Mehdi Ghazanfari, arrived in China on Tuesday to participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, which is being held in Beijing.
The SCO includes China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Iran received observer status in 2005.
Trade between Iran and China soared by 55 percent on year to exceed 45 billion dollars in 2011, AFP quoted Tehran's envoy to Beijing as saying in February.
Ambassador Mehdi Safari said that the annual trade figures showed a 16 billion-dollar increase in commercial ties with China since 2010, the IRNA News Agency reported.
China is Iran's top trade partner, with economic ties expanding in recent years partly thanks to the withdrawal of Western companies in line with sanctions against the Islamic republic over its nuclear program.
The Asian economic giant has also significantly strengthened its presence in Iran's oil and gas sector by signing a series of contracts worth up to 40 billion dollars in the past few years, in place of Western firms.
Iran is the third largest provider of oil to China.
China defended its economic and oil trade with Tehran as legitimate after the European Union imposed sanctions on the oil exports of the Islamic republic, which provides 11 percent of China's oil imports.
The Islamic Republic of Iran and China seek to increase the value of their bilateral trade to more than 50 billion dollars in 2012, said Iranian vice president.
Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh made the announcement after a meeting with Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Li Keqiang on April 1.
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