China oil firm slams 'puzzling' US sanctions

2012-01-14 12:12

Beijing - A Chinese oil firm which the US placed sanctions on saying it was the largest seller of refined petroleum products to Iran has denied the claim as "fiction", state media said Saturday.

Washington on Thursday said Zhuhai Zhenrong brokered delivery of more than $500m in gasoline to Iran from July 2010 to January 2011 and put in place sanctions barring the Beijing-based company from doing business in the US.

The sanctions came a day after US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner met Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders to ask for help squeezing Iran's key oil revenues and pushing Tehran to halt its nuclear ambitions.

"The accusations that we export refined oil to Iran is complete fiction. We have never done that. The sanctions are truly puzzling," a representative for Zhuhai Zhenrong was quoted as saying in The Global Times newspaper.

Calls to the company went unanswered on Saturday and China's ministry of foreign affairs could not be reached for comment.

Zhuhai Zhenrong defended itself as Wen left Saturday for the Middle East to visit key oil-producing nations as rising tensions over Iran's nuclear programme spark fears of major oil supply disruptions.

Energy-hungry China relies on Iran for 11% of its oil imports.

Vice foreign minister Cui Tiankai this week warned against making any links between China's trade relations with Iran and pressure on Tehran's nuclear programme.

The US sanctions, also placed on companies from Singapore and the United Arab Emirates - where Wen will make a stop - bar the three firms from receiving US export licences, trade support from the US Export Import Bank and loans over $10m from US financial institutions.

Zhuhai Zhenrong's website said the company, founded in 1994, had imported a total of 150 million tonnes of crude oil by the end of 2010 and has a long-term contract to import fuel oil from the National Iranian Oil Company.

"The sanctions don't make any difference to our company's business because we have never had any business co-operation with any United States companies," a representative, Zheng Mei, told the Legal Mirror newspaper on Friday.

Wen, on his Middle East trip, will first spend the weekend in Saudi Arabia - the largest provider of oil to China - before going to the UAE on Monday and then on to Qatar on January 19.

  • Ballito - 2012-01-14 13:40

    ROFLMFAO EAT THAT usa YOU WERE MADE A FOOL THEYN DONT NEED YOU.usa have no damn the americans are starting took like fools.every1 telling they cant pull their money out of iran lol

  • Dirk - 2012-01-14 18:19

    No resources? The truth of the matter is that the US economy is still roughly 3X the size of Chinas- $14.6 trillion as opposed to $4.6tril and China is dependent on the US consumer for that. I would not celebrate the USs "demise" -far to premature. And Chinas bubble----

  • Barry - 2012-01-14 18:46

    The USA are very good at getting things totally wrong for the rest of us. Iraq, Libya, Iran. Now they want to challenge a company in China that has nothing to do with any of their ugly stuff. Go figure

  • braamc - 2012-01-14 18:54

    Good on you USA, China has no positive moral input in world economics, stripping and clearing and abusing resources including human resources all around the world.

      Barry - 2012-01-14 19:12

      I think most notable USA economists will disagree with you on that. They see China as great place to invest in. Most common USA retail brands are popular in China. The USA is making good returns in China that is for sure. Go figure..

      Dirk - 2012-01-14 19:57

      braamc-You must know that you are dealing with the special envoy for China and the arab counties. Barry-They are using cheap/ slave labour in China. Do you go along with that? Or are you going to try and convince me that its their work ethic and high rate of productivity?

      Barry - 2012-01-14 20:02

      @Dirk. In every country there a companies that will transgress labour laws. Even in South Africa we have it. This article is not about that. This article is about the USA starting its Economic Terrorism on China in a small way.

      Dirk - 2012-01-15 08:18

      Well, I wish the US the very best in doing so, DESERVEDLY.

      Graziella - 2012-01-15 11:21

      @bum Your reasoning shows a lack of self-awareness that borders on the psychotic. Haven't you studied history? This sort of disconnection from reality is reminiscent of some sort of psychosis, or you know something that the rest of us don't.

      Barry - 2012-01-15 18:41

      @Dirk..Ok. So you side with the terrorists of this world. Your position is most definitely not the South African position or my position on this matter. GO IRAN!

  • carel.wiekus - 2012-03-21 07:10

    Thanks USA. If you are more exposed to this part of the world you will most probably support the US efforts.

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