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EghtesadOnline: China’s Finance Minister Xiao Jie underscored Iran’s strategic role in China’s New Silk Road plan, noting that Iran can be a party for fulfilling the ‘”One Road, One Belt” vision initiated by the Chinese government.

“Iran not only could participate in carrying out the plan within their borders, but they could also be a force to execute the New Silk Road vision in other countries,” Xiao said during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Tayyebnia, at a key event promoting the New Silk Road trade project in Beijing.

Iran’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayyebnia arrived in the Chinese capital on Saturday to represent Iran in the New Silk Road summit, formally known as the “Belt and Road Initiative” and sign the communiqué to revive the Silk Road along with other countries’ representatives, IRNA reported.

On the sidelines of the summit, Tayyebnia was also scheduled to hold several meetings with a number of officials and other participants, according to Financial Tribune.

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, the Iranian delegation was to sign agreements with more than 20 countries and international organizations, seeking assistance for implementing more than 20 projects in various fields such as energy, transportation, investment, trade and infrastructure.  

“Iran’s position in [Chinese President] Xi Jinping’s innovative plan to revive the New Silk Road is spectacular and ideal, therefore we intend to play an effective role in its implementation,” Tayyebnia said in the meeting with his Chinese counterpart.

Formally known as the Belt and Road Initiative, the project promotes a vision of expanding links among Asia, Africa and Europe underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.

Tayyebnia noted that Iran has been a part of the Silk Road from ancient times and intends to have a more important part in the new plan.

 China’s finance minister noted that his country is determined to further expand ties with the Middle Eastern country and remove obstacles to mutual cooperation.

“With Iran’s combined effort, we will try to eliminate a number of burdensome international regulations that might disturb our financial relations,” he added.

The officials also talked about establishing new correspondent banking relations and opening foreign bank branches in their respective countries, which are necessary to facilitate bilateral trade.

  Banking Cooperation

Iranian finance minister also met with Chairman of China Banking Regulatory Commission Guo Shuqing in which the Chinese official pledged to remove banking hurdles between the two countries. “Efforts to normalize our banking ties will continue,” he said, adding that China will assist Iran to catch up with international banking standards since the sanctions isolated Iranian banks for a long time.

Tayyebnia also met with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank’s President Jin Liqun and highlighted the role of AIIB as a major international financial institution in financing infrastructural projects in Asia, emphasizing the bank’s role in implementing the Belt and Road Initiative.

“Iran was among the bank’s initial founding members and is ready to offer technical assistance to help implement the projects, especially in neighboring countries,” he said.

Jin Liqun also mentioned the importance of Iran in the New Silk Road project and asked for development of Iran’s role in the project due to its historic presence on the Silk Road.   

The Belt and Road Initiative summit opened on Sunday with 1,500 representatives, including 850 guests from 130 countries and 70 international organizations.  Secretary-general of the United Nations, president of the World Bank and the head of International Monetary Fund, as well as 28 leaders from four continents also took part in the summit.

As the summit in Beijing wound up, the 30 nations agreed to promote a rules-based, non-discriminatory trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core and to oppose protectionism, according to a joint communiqué signed by their leaders.

In the communiqué, China and other nations underlined the importance of expanding trade and investment based on a level playing field.

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $124 billion on Sunday for the New Silk Road plan to forge a path of peace, inclusiveness and free trade, and called for the abandonment of old models based on rivalry and diplomatic power games.

Earlier on Monday, the Chinese president urged major multilateral institutions to join the Belt and Road initiative, stressing the importance of rejecting protectionism in seeking global economic growth.

Xi announced that China would host the second Belt and Road Forum in 2019.

Ali Tayyebnia Iran-China cooperation new Silk Road Xiao Jie