Iran-China trade exceeds 45 billion dollars in 2011
TEHRAN — Trade between Iran and China soared by 55 percent on year to exceed 45 billion dollars in 2011, Tehran's envoy to Beijing was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
Ambassador Mehdi Safari said in Beijing that the annual trade figures showed a 16 billion-dollar increase in commercial ties with China since 2010, the official 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 contentious nuclear drive.
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.