China shifts to Iranian tankers ahead of oil import ban: report
Move underscores Beijing's defense of commercial ties to Iran
China, the world’s largest importer of Iranian oil, is preparing for the United States to enforce sanctions reimposed on Tehran, and has shifted crude-oil cargoes to Iranian tankers, according to a report from Reuters on Monday.
The oil that will now be shipped by National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) represents nearly all of China’s crude-oil imports from the country. The Donald Trump administration has warned that it is prepared to slap sanctions on China should it refuse to cut shipments.
According to data from Thompson Reuters Eikon, all shipments of Iranian oil to China were carried by NITC in July, and the imports grew from the month before to 23.8 million barrels a day from 19.8 million.
The US has set a November deadline to comply with the demand, prompting other large importers, including India, Japan and South Korea, to negotiate with Washington.
China has said repeatedly that it will not commit to reducing crude-oil imports from Iran and is opposed to unilateral sanctions.
India is reportedly in talks to be granted a waiver from the ban on importing Iranian oil in exchange for cutting its purchases by 50%.