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By Iris Ouyang
     BEIJING (MNI) - China is not about to accede to U.S. demands to stop
importing oil from Iran, but the issue is unlikely to spoil trade talks between
the two countries, two advisors for the Chinese government told MNI, with one
adding that U.S. sanctions aimed at Iranian crude could promote the use of the
yuan.
     "China is unlikely to make much of a concession on this," Yu Miaojie, a
veteran trade expert who advises the finance and commerce ministries, said this
week, shrugging off concerns the issue would cloud this week's trade talks in
Beijing.
     "The U.S. needs a trade deal more than China does. Trump has to conduct
trade negotiations with Japan after trade negotiations with us, and he needs to
finish that before the end of December."
     Waivers of U.S. sanctions allowing eight countries to import Iranian oil
end on Wednesday, the day after the start of the 10th round of China-U.S.
Negotiations. Chinese Premier Liu He will lead a delegation to Washington next
week.
     China is the world's largest oil importer and the main purchaser of Iranian
crude.
     Mei Xinyu, researcher at the Ministry-of-Commerce-managed Chinese Academy
of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, agreed that Iran sanctions
would be kept separate from the talks.
     "It would complicate the current negotiations. Both sides are trying to
limit the talks purely to trade," he told MNI.
     China was a big country and could not be pressured by U.S. attempts to
impose its rules on other nations, Mei said. U.S. sanctions on Iran could even
help with the internationalisation of the yuan, as the Chinese currency could be
used for "cross-border pricing and clearing," he said.
     China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last week that Beijing opposes the
sanctions and U.S. jurisdictional overreach, saying China's cooperation with
Iran is reasonable, legal and must be respected and protected.
--MNI Beijing Bureau; +86 (10) 8532-5998; email: iris.ouyang@marketnews.com
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email: les.commons@marketnews.com
--MNI London Bureau; +44 203 865 3829; email: jason.webb@marketnews.com
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