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Norway-China Take Another Step in the Direction of Strengthening Trade Ties

A virtual meeting was held between China and Norway last week, to negotiate the terms of their free trade agreement. The conference took place between the respective chief trade negotiators of the two countries.  Detailed discourse was held on subjects of investments, trade in goods and services, customs procedures, rules of origin, and trade facilitation. The subject matter of discussion also included technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and dispute settlement. The parties also discussed what the recital to the agreement would incorporate.

According to the two sides, the main purpose of the discourse was to reach a mutual agreement with respect to a wide range of economic matters.

The trading partners emphasized the role of the trade agreement in collectively combating the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic while restoring economic growth. To obtain this outcome, importance was placed on assisting multilateralism and free trade along with solidifying mutual economic and trade cooperation. The significance of sustaining the stability of the global industrial supply network was also discussed. In addition to this Norway also revealed its intentions of cooperating with China in order to increase flows of direct investment. These investments would also be for energy sectors like hydropower and gas developments.

Earlier on the government of Norway had entered into an agreement with China to allow the import of seafood into China. This followed China’s growing demand for food products of northern Europe, where the annual rise in seafood consumption exceeds Norway’s entire yearly production. Norway and China’s agreement with respect to the seafood products is renewable on a biannual basis. The agreement is expected to provide a steady platform to Norwegian fisheries and salmon till the free trade agreement is finally completed.

Over the last four years, Norway and China have tried to constructively improve their bilateral relation that was tensed since 2010. The relation between the two countries soured when in 2010 a Norwegian committee awarded an imprisoned Chinese human rights activist. This political row was followed by some restrictions on Norwegian imports into China. It was in 2016 that the two countries normalized their bilateral ties. Now with the latest development, the countries are set to sign their free trade agreement.

Through its European Free Trade Association membership, Norway is also solemnizing its trade and economic ties with other key economies of Asia. Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Iceland also form part of the European Free Trade Association. As the year 2018 neared its end, the trade association entered into an agreement with Indonesia, titled the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

China’s talks with Norway regarding free trade are also in line with Beijing’s free-trade expansion plans across Europe. With respect to this agreements with Switzerland and Iceland have already been concluded by China.

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