One of China’s largest oil companies, Sinopec, has suspended imports of 300,000 barrels per month by the end of the year, a company source has revealed to major international media.
At the same time, reports have confirmed that a number of other Chinese oil and gas companies have also joined in on refusing to purchase US oil.
This monumental decision seems to come from the very top of China’s policy structures as a response to the recent standstill in negotiations on the US-China trade war and the US’ sanctions offensive on Iran following Washington’s unilateral withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal.
Meanwhile, other reports suggest that China will not cut oil purchases from Iran despite attempts by US negotiators to restrict Chinese imports of Persian oil.
Russian economist Vladislav Ginko, a senior lecturer at the Academy of Economics and Public Service under the Russian presidential administration, has commented on the situation of US sanctions against Iran.
“When I look at China, I certainly see the authorities trying to demonstrate a determined attitude against sanction measures and trade war [with the US], and indeed they have the right to buy what they want…. In fact, China is trying to adapt in the face of the US’ demands,” Ginko commented.
For the Russian expert, the Americans’ demands put forth against China are “shocking” and amount to “asking a sovereign country not to buy some products…Today this is about oil purchases, tomorrow it could be something else,” he pointed out.
To date, only China has refused to rule out imports of Iranian oil. However, the US has been met with stubborn resistance on the part of multiple EU countries as well, as the dispute over Washington’s unilateral abandonment of the JCPOA has seen EU representatives and companies pledge to continue operations with and in Iran despite the threat of US sanctions.
In the Russian economist’s opinion, Tehran has “dealt decently” with the significant sanctions imposed against Iran over recent years.
“This is already making Iran look for new paths: first, they have almost completely ceased using the dollar within the country… Secondly, they are trying to use new technologies, which is even generating a lot of discussion, including on the use of cryptocurrency,” he said, drawing a parallel with Venezuela who has the Petro, their own cryptocurrency backed by oil.