USA is the biggest threat to free trade, says Solberg

Prime Minister Erna SolbergPrime Minister Erna Solberg.Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix

The attacks on free trade in recent weeks give cause for serious concern, Prime Minister and leader of the Right party Erna Solberg said during the her national party’s meeting on Friday.


The Prime Minister addressed an unusual attack on Norway’s most important allies when she opened the the Right’s national meeting at Gardermoen.

“It is a great paradox when it is the United States that appears to be the biggest threat to free trade. And Communist China is one of the foremost defenders,” said Solberg.

“A global trade war and increasing protectionism is the last thing the world needs now,” she said, who received applauds from the country meeting.

President Donald Trump has instructed his advisors to research additional tolls for Chinese goods for $100 billion, equivalent to 785 billion NOK. According to the news agency AFP, the instruction is given “in light of China’s unfair revenge”.

China hit back on Friday

“If the United States does not care about the resistance from China and the world community, insisting on all-time and trade protectionism, China will respond, no matter the cost,” said the Ministry of Commerce.

State-controlled Chinese media followed up by calling Trump’s statement as “ridiculous.”

Norway will be affected
Solberg is aware that a full-scale trade war will also affect Norway hard.

Norway will directly be affected by the United States protectionist line through increased steel tariffs, but it is the indirect effects of the trade war the prime minister fears most. It is primarily about the danger of a decline in the global economy in general and Europe in particular.

“Norway is a small country with a large open economy that depends on activity. Lower growth outside, provides less basis for Norwegian export companies. It gives less demand for our goods,” says the prime minister of NTB.

The reviews are also directed directly to Trump. During the press conference after the speech, Solberg said that it also appears as a paradox that there is a president “claiming he is a Republican” who is in charge of new protectionist trade walls.

– This is also emphasized that the republican leader from the Senate disagrees and believes that he should not do this, says the assessment.

Tracks scare
Solberg emphasizes that Norway will be a driving force for continued free and fair trade in goods.

– Historically, periods of extensive protectionism have led to recession, war and conflict. This has happened before and that is what is scary. I would strongly warn against such a development, said the head of state in her speech.

To NTB, she points out that growth in Europe has just begun to recover after the financial crisis in what is a very important market for Norway.

“If the EU is affected by such trade barriers, then growth is going down, we will simply get smaller markets, and then there will be fewer jobs in Norway,” she says.

She also fears that the Norwegian tourism industry will lose if Japanese, Chinese and Koreans get worse advice.


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today