Iran and China have signed a memorandum of understanding to expand cooperation in the agricultural sector,

Covering various areas including horticulture, agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, agricultural mechanization, and China's investment in Iran's agricultural development programs, the MOU was signed by Iran’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Kazem Khavazi and his Chinese counterpart in Beijing.

The document was signed as part of the 5th Iran-China Joint Economic Cooperation Committee held in Beijing this week.

Heading a delegation, Khavazi visited China to attend the mentioned event.

Earlier this month, the Head of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines, and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Samad Hassanzadeh said there is a potential for Iran-China trade to reach $50 billion and the agricultural sector is one of the major areas for the expansion of economic ties.

Hassanzadeh made the remarks in an Iran-China Business Forum held on the sidelines of Iran Expo 2024.

He voiced the readiness of Iranian businesspeople for more enhanced trade with China, expressing hope that the Expo will help the promotion of ties between Tehran and Beijing.

Noting that China is presently Iran’s main trade partner, he said that the volume of trade between the two countries stands at $30 billion which can even be increased to $50 billion. 

The ICCIMA head further stressed that the private sectors of Iran and China can cooperate in different areas including agriculture and industry.

China is one of Iran’s main trade partners that has maintained strong trade ties with the Islamic Republic despite the strict U.S. sanctions.

Iran and China officially signed the document for 25-year comprehensive cooperation in March 2021.

The document was signed between Iran’s former Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

According to the latest data released by China Customs, trade between Iran and China in the first two months of 2024 amounted to $2.879 billion, marking a 37 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

China exported $2.5 billion worth of products to Iran and imported $829 million from Iran from January to February 2024, representing a 45 percent and 20 percent year-over-year increase, respectively.

Analysts believe that China's imports from Iran may be even higher than $829 million, as the purchase of Iranian oil by Chinese refiners is not included in the official statistics of the country's imports from Iran.

The value of trade between Iran and China in 2023 exceeded $14.6 billion, registering a 6.2 percent decline compared to 2022, according to China’s Customs data.

Iran’s Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ehsan Khandouzi has said the 25-year strategic partnership plan between Iran and China has entered a new phase with new agreements being reached between various ministries of the two countries.

Back in December 2022, Iran and China finalized 16 memorandums of understanding (MOU) under the framework of the two countries’ strategic 25-year agreement.

The MOUs were signed in an Iran-China comprehensive cooperation program summit which was held in Tehran on December 13 in the presence of Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber and China’s Vice Premier Hu Chunhua.

Iran and China also signed 20 memoranda of understanding in the presence of the presidents of the two countries in Beijing in mid-February, 2023.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi was on a three-day state visit to China starting February 14, 2023.

During President Raisi's visit to China, Tehran and Beijing signed a number of bilateral cooperation documents in the fields of agriculture, trade, tourism, environmental protection, health, disaster relief, culture, and sports.

The documents include agreements in the field of transportation and industry worth $12 billion and $3.5 billion, respectively; the agreements cover various joint projects like the high-speed rail link between Tehran and Mashhad, and investment in the Imam Khomeini Airport City.

Raisi's visit served as an example of the high level of mutual trust between China and Iran, as well as a milestone for bilateral ties.

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