Former head of China\'s National Energy Administration Zhang Guobao underlined the country\'s need for the Iranian oil, and stated that the sanctions on Tehran will not influence China\'s oil imports from Iran. \"China\'s crude import costs may be pushed up by tension in Iran as oil prices could rise on supply concern,\" Zhang said, addressing the Chinese People\'s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing on Sunday. Bloomberg quoted Zhang as stating that the prices determine the amount of oil imported by China. He added that Beijing will bring online two emergency crude oil reserve sites this year, without elaborating. The former Chinese energy head said China has finished the first phase of its emergency stockpile of 103.2 million barrels of oil in 2009 and the second phase is scheduled to be completed by early 2013. The country is still in gas supply talks with Russia. China is Iran\'s top trade partner, with economic ties expanding in recent years after the withdrawal of Western companies in line with sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its peaceful nuclear program. Beijing has also significantly increased its presence in Iran\'s oil and gas sector by signing a series of contracts worth up to 40 billion dollars in the past few years. China boosted its oil imports from Iran by 30% in 2011 despite the West\'s pressure on the world\'s second largest economy to lower economic ties with Iran. China\'s crude oil imports from Iran have amounted to 27.76 million metric tons in 2011, Chinese General Administration of Customs announced in February. The figure shows that the country traded in nearly 557,000 barrels of oil from Iran on a daily basis last year. China\'s overall crude imports for December 2011 stood at 21.92 million metric tons, up 5.1 percent in comparison with the same period in the previous year. The growth in China\'s oil imports from Iran came despite the West\'s efforts to rally support for an oil embargo on Iran.