Iran has acknowledged that its exports of petrochemicals to China have hit a snag since May over banking problems with a top official in Tehran saying the top-level intervention by the governments of the two countries is needed to restart the exports.
Marzieh Shahdaei, the managing director of Iran’s National Petrochemical Company (NPC), said the Chinese banks were refusing to make payments to Iranian exporters due to domestic regulations against money laundering that came into effect from May 1, 2017.
Shahdaei added that the NPC had held meetings with the relevant officials inside the government of President Hassan Rouhani to remove the problem and that China’s ambassador to Tehran had even been asked to explain about the problem.
“The problem has reached a stage that the senior officials of the Iranian and Chinese governments need to negotiate over it,” she was quoted as saying by Iran’s IRNA news agency.
Shahdaei added that the relevant Iranian parties had even arranged a meeting with China’s economy minister to discuss the matter.
She said certain regulations in China need to be amended in order for Iran’s petrochemical exports to the country to restart.
Other officials in Tehran had earlier said the Chinese banks were still reluctant to interact with their Iranian counterparts over concerns that they may fall afoul of the remaining US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Mehdi Sharifi Nik-Nafs, the managing director of the Iranian Petrochemical Commercial Company (IPCC), was quoted by IRNA as saying that Iran exported almost half of its petrochemicals to China, warning that the current halt in the exports could hurt the Iranian petrochemical industry.