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US Iranian sanctions target China-based traders

The latest US sanctions on Iran include sanctions on a China-based trader and ship-owner which have reportedly bought and transported Iranian steel slab. Chinese imports of Iranian slab were small in 2019 but growing year-on-year, Kallanish notes.

According to the US Treasury, Pamchel Trading Beijing has purchased tens of thousands of tonnes of slabs on a monthly basis from Esfahan Mobarakeh Steel. It also sold graphite electrodes and other carbon materials to Iranian minerals firm Khalagh Tadbir Pars, and coordinated copper concentrate sales to a Chinese buyer. The Treasury also states that Pamchel uses a Seychelles-based front company, Power Anchor Limited, to masque the Iranian element of the trade in order to avoid sanctions.

Chinese customs data dhows that it imported 31,145 tonnes of slab from Iran over January-November 2019, compared with none the previous year.

The other Chinese company to make the sanctions list is Hongyuan Marine, which owns the ship Hong Xun, which transported steel slabs from Esfahan to China for Pamchel. The ship itself has been designated ‘blocked property.’

Public records show that Asia Pangchao Trade (Beijing), with the same address as Pamchel and including the word Pamchel in its contact email, is 100% owned by a single individual. The name given is Mansu’er, the usual Chinese transliteration for Mansur.

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