This morning, Foreign Minister Össur Skarphéðinsson met with Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, responsible for international trade. The Minister is part of a delegation led by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, which arrived today in Iceland on an official visit.
The Ministers discussed the ongoing free trade negoations between Iceland and China. The Foreign Minister expressed his wish to organize a new negotiating round as soon as possible and that tariff eliminations for fish products would take effect from the entry into force of the agreement or earlier.
The Ministers welcomed the increased trade between the countries and the Foreign Minister encouraged the Chinese to accommodate Icelandic companies entering the Chinese market. Icelandic exports to China increased by nearly 60% between 2010 and 2011 and imports from China increased around 80% at the same time.
The Foreign Minister also expressed his desire to expand the Open Skies Agreement between the countries. The Chinese Minister said he would deliver the message back home and encouraged the matter to be discussed by the Sino-Icelandic mixed Commission on Trade and Economic Co-operation together with other important bilateral trade issues.
The Foreign Minister discussed Arctic Affairs and the future opportunities created by new maritime transport routes. The Chinese Minister welcomed enhanced dialogue between the countries on these issues.