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China urges free trade deal with Norway 'as soon as possible'

China Urges Free Trade Deal with Norway ‘as Soon as Possible’

BEIJING – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for an acceleration of free trade negotiations with Norway at the end of his visit, Chinese state media reported Friday.
After meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Foreign Minister Ine Soreide on Thursday, Wang praised China’s relations with Norway and called on the two sides to build on their partnership.
“Given the impact of COVID-19, the early completion of the China-Norway FTA negotiations is of great importance for bilateral economic relations and trade as well as for efforts to maintain the chain of ‘open and connected global supply,’ he told a press briefing with Soreide.
“Both sides must speed up the negotiation and bring it to a speedy conclusion.”
As Norway prepares to join the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, Wang stressed the need for rules-based international cooperation, a point supported by Soreide.
Norwegian leaders stressed the strengthening of cooperation with China, especially on maritime issues and the research and development of coronavirus vaccines.
The prime minister and foreign minister both expressed hope that a free trade agreement between China and Norway can be concluded as soon as possible.
This week, Wang visited Italy and the Netherlands, and he is heading to France on Saturday.
The two sides also agreed to promote multilateralism and free trade; both opposed to unilateralism and protectionism.
“In every country that I visit, the greatest consensus I reach with my counterparts is the need to support multilateralism,” Wang said.
“Multilateralism is about the very survival of countries, especially small and medium-sized countries” and without it, the world would revert to a “law of the jungle”, he warned.
Soreide said Norway has always supported multilateralism and global free trade to preserve international order.
In the face of growing global uncertainty, Norway is ready to cooperate more with China and other members of the international community, the Norwegian foreign minister said.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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