Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson is currently visiting China, accompanied by a trade delegation representing Icelandic Business and Industry. During the Minister‘s visit he will have meetings with Chinese Ministers and learn about the Icelandic businesses that are operating in China. The main goal of the visit is to deepen and widen trade and business ventures between the two countries in the coming years.
Earlier today Foreign Minister Sveinsson met Mr Gao Gucheng, Minister of Commerce in Beijing on the occasion of the entry into force of the Iceland-China free trade agreement on July 1. During their meeting the Ministers discussed the increase in trade between Iceland and China and the important milestone next week when the free trade agreement will enter into force. It is expected that trade relations will increase significantly once the agreement has entered into force. The Ministers discussed specific economic topics such as cooperation in the field of energy, especially as regards geothermal. They also discussed cooperation in tourism, cooperation in the Dreki area as well as possible exports of meat and dairy products to China.
Later today Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson also met with Mr Wang Chao, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Ministers welcomed the new opportunities that the free trade agreement would bring and the political dialogues between Iceland and China that had been launched last year by a joint statement by the Icelandic and Chinese Prime Ministers. In that context the Ministers noted the newly established political dialogue on labour issues. Among other issues that were discussed during the the meeting were Arctic issues. The Ministers discussed Iceland's priority fields in the Arctic as well as possible joint cooperation venues, e.g. in the field of environmental protection. The Ministers also discussed European affairs and economic development as well as the importance of gender equality.
On Friday, July 27, Foreign Minister Sveinsson will meet his Chinese counterpart, Mr Wan Yi. He will also address an Icelandic-Chinese business forum which will focus on export opportunities in the food industry, including processed fish products. The Icelandic Foreign Minister will also meet the President of Sinopec Group which is cooperating with the Icelandic company Orka Energy on geothermal heating projects in China.