Iranian and Chinese officials in a meeting in Tehran on Monday explored avenues for bolstering and reinvigorating bilateral ties, specially in agricultural areas. During the meeting in the Iranian capital today, Iranian Agricultural Jihad Minister Mahmoud Hojjati underlined the need for the further expansion of bilateral ties in agriculture and husbandry. The Iranian agricultural Jihad minister pointed to the current status of Iran-China relations, and said, "The new Iranian government is to expand all-out cooperation with China mainly in agricultural sector." The Chinese deputy agriculture minister, for his part, called for setting up a working group to help implement the joint projects in the agricultural sector. He pointed to his visits to several Iranian provinces, and said, "I found out that the Iranian agriculture sector has good potentials for mutual cooperation." Trade between Iran and China in the past year was estimated at $45bln. Iran is currently China's third largest supplier of crude, providing Beijing with roughly 12 percent of its total annual oil consumption. According to the figures released by China's General Administration of Customs in January, China's crude oil imports from Iran reached 2.5mln tons (mt) in December 2012, up 43 percent from November. The official data showed that China's daily crude imports from Iran in December 2012 also rose 3.6 percent compared to December 2011. It marks China's biggest crude import from Iran since it won a renewal of exemption from the United States' oil embargo against Iran.