China on Wednesday defended its business ties with Iran despite a set of U.S. sanctions targeting Tehran, potentially setting up further trade conflicts between Beijing and the Trump administration.
A statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry reported by Reuters states that China’s business dealings with Iran comply with all United Nations sanctions currently applied to Iran, and that the country would ignore new measures implemented by the U.S. on Tuesday.
“China’s commercial cooperation with Iran is open and transparent, reasonable and fair, not violating any United Nations Security Council resolutions,” the statement read, adding that “China’s lawful rights should be protected.”
China’s response comes on the heels of President Trump‘s declaration early Tuesday that countries which continue to do business with Iran would soon find themselves frozen out of U.S. markets.
“The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed,” the president tweeted Tuesday, adding: “and in November they ratchet up to yet another level. Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!”
Trump implemented sanctions against Iran this week after pulling out of the Obama-era nuclear deal — signed between the U.S., Iran and several European countries — earlier this year. The agreement was aimed at providing limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
China has battled the Trump administration over protectionist trade policy for months, locking horns with the president over issues including intellectual property theft and other unfair trade practices that the U.S. has accused China of participating in.
The country’s government has responded to tariffs passed by the U.S. in recent weeks with reciprocal tariffs targeting U.S. grain exports and other industries tied to traditionally-red states.
Source: The Hill