TEHRAN: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will head to China on Tuesday (today) for a three-day visit, aimed at strengthening economic cooperation, state media reported on Sunday.

The Iranian president will set out for Beijing in response to an official invitation by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Iran’s state news agency IRNA said.

Both presidents met for the first time last September in Uzbekistan at a summit for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, where the Iranian president called for expanded ties.

On his upcoming trip, the Iranian president is expected to hold private talks with Xi, and delegations from both countries are due to sign “cooperation documents”, according to IRNA.

The agency added that President Raisi would also take part in meetings with Chinese businessmen and Iranians living in the country.

Iran and China have strong economic ties, especially in the fields of energy, transit, agriculture, trade and investment.

In 2021, both countries signed a 25-year “strategic cooperation pact” said to include “political, strategic and economic” components.

China is Iran’s largest trade partner, IRNA said, citing the 10-month statistics of Iranian customs authorities.

Teh­ran’s exports to Beijing stood at $12.6 billion, while it imported $12.7 billion worth of goods from China.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2023

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