Vast scope for growth seen in China-Norway ties
Vast scope for growth seen in economic ties with Norway
Published: Aug 27, 2020 09:28 PM

Aerial photo taken on September 8 shows a Salmon farm in Bergen, Norway. Photo: Deng Zijun/GT

China and Norway have vast scope for economic cooperation from trade to marine industry development, which experts said will likely speed up closer diplomatic interactions. 

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit five European countries, including Norway, from Tuesday to September 1. 

During his visit to Norway, Wang will exchange views with Norwegian government officials on topics related to China-Norway relations and issues of mutual concern, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said during a press conference Wednesday. 

According to Zhao, China is willing to make joint efforts with Norway to drive China-Norway relations to achieve greater development. China also expects the visit can give rise to bilateral cooperation, especially providing impetus to the China-Norway free trade agreement talks.

Economic relations between China and Norway have progressed in a mostly stable manner over the years. According to an information brief provided by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries in Norway to the Global Times, China is an important trading partner and market for Norway, and major areas of cooperation between the two countries include the maritime sector, seafood, renewable energy and tourism. 

"In today's situation, international cooperation on trade is more important than ever. Norway supports multilateral initiatives to ensure that goods and services can flow as freely as possible," the information brief noted. 

The briefing also noted that it is important for China and Norway to conclude a comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement that will contribute to increased trade and strengthen long-term economic cooperation. "We are making progress in our negotiations but there are important issues that still need to be agreed on," it read. 

Some Norway-based companies that the Global Times talked to on Thursday stressed that they see great potential in the Chinese market, and they said they hoped the two countries' closer ties can generate more business opportunities for them. 

Wendy Wang, brand manager of Jotun Coatings (Zhangjiagang) Co, a subsidiary of Norwegian paints and coatings giant Jotun Group, said that the company's business in China has benefited from China's industrial upgrade, which calls for higher-standard, more professional industrial products. 

"We believe that in our industry, China's market will stably grow in the future, as emerging industries like wind power will bring us new business opportunities, while the government focus on infrastructure construction also brings market opportunities," she told the Global Times. 

Lan Luo, sales manager with the Greater China Region of the Norway salmon supplier Ocean Quality AS, told the Global Times that the Chinese market has huge potential for the country's huge population, rising income, and the expansion of the middle class.

Lan predicted that annual salmon export growth from Norway to China would be 10-15 percent on average. Experts said that the potential is still very great for China's and Norway's economic interaction to develop further. 

Bilateral' trade rose by 21 percent in 2019, customs data showed. 

Zhao Junjie, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of European Studies, said that China-Norway's trade has room for growth as China is only Norway's 10th-largest exporting country. 

According to him, China can import more seafood or ships from Norway. The two countries can also cooperate on issues like fisheries, shipbuilding and environmental protection by way of joint investment or exploring third markets together. 

He also suggested that the two countries speed up free trade agreement talks, as such an agreement can strengthen legal protection for bilateral trade and bring down the price of traded products. 

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