New negotiations with China on free trade agreement

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Work to achieve a free trade agreement with China is underway, and this week, the parties in Beijing met to negotiate a possible deal.

‘’China is one of our most important trading partners.

A trade agreement will be very important for the Norwegian economy and for Norwegian jobs. That is why I am pleased that the negotiations are progressing’’ said Minister of Industry, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen of Høyre (H).

A calculation from the Ministry of Trade and Industry in February showed that a free trade agreement with China is estimated to provide extra export revenues for goods worth NOK 29 billion over a period of ten years.

Positive

Although the parties sat at the table, they have not yet come to an agreement. There remain some negotiating questions.

‘’There are still many outstanding negotiation issues,including market access for goods, investment, and services. But we are positive, and both countries want to get an agreement in place’’ said Røe Isaksen.

During the negotiating round in Beijing, the topics were trade in goods, trade in services and investment, technical barriers to trade, veterinary issues, intellectual property rights, public procurement, competition, legal and horizontal issues, trade and environment, labour rights, trade facilitation, and rules of origin and trade.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry said that the next round of negotiations will take place in Oslo in June.

More negotiations

The free trade negotiations began in 2008, but stopped because of the ice front that arose when Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.

In 2016, Norway and China entered into an agreement on normalisation of relations so that negotiations could resume.

In addition to being in negotiations with China, Norway is currently also negotiating comprehensive free trade agreements with India and Mercosur. The latter is a free trade cooperation between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. In addition, there are ongoing negotiations in Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Norway has 28 free trade agreements through EFTA. Four of them are in Asia: the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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