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China bought 30% of Iranian exports in year to March: IRICA

China was responsible for nearly 30% of all purchases from Iranian exporters in the year to late March.

The Iranian customs office (IRICA) says China bought nearly 30% of all Iranian exports in the year to late March as the East Asian country continued to defy US pressure and deepened its trade ties with the Islamic Republic.

IRICA spokesman Rouhollah Latifi said on Sunday that Chinese purchases of Iranian non-oil exports had amounted to $14.323 billion over the past calendar year.

Exports to China increased 58% in value terms compared to the year to March 2021, said Latifi.

The official added that Iranian imports from China had totaled $12.744 billion over the 12 months to March 2022, an increase of 29% year on year.

China has been a main trade and economic partner for Iran since the United States pulled out of an international agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program in 2018 and imposed a series of sanctions on the country.

Higher volume of trade with China has been a major boost to Iran’s efforts to diversify its economy away from crude.

The country recorded over $100 billion in foreign trade in the year to March despite restrictions caused by the US sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic.

Trade figures announced by IRICA on Sunday excluded Iranian shipments of crude to China over the year to late March.

Estimates by international tanker tracker services show that Iranian crude shipments to China started to increase significantly in the second half of last year and stayed at high levels in early 2020.

That comes as the Chinese customs service does not normally register the shipments as they are mostly delivered to private refiners in the country.

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