China holds the potential of becoming a significant seafood market for Norway. – I look forward to resuming negotiations about a free-trade agreement with China as early as practically possible, says Norwegian Trade Minister Monica Mæland.
- This will be a top priority and one that I will work actively on, Mæland says in a press statement.
High North News recently wrote about Arild Vollan from Harstad, who for the past few years has worked closely with business and politicians in China. Vollan, who works with counseling and advising Norwegian seafood companies says high-quality seafood products are in high demand in the Chinese market. With the normalization of relations between Norway and China he now hopes there will be a bigger focus on developments in Northern Norway.
- Norway is now getting a market that is effectively as large as the European one, Vollan says..
Together with his Chinese business partner Jian Hansong he met a.o. Minister of Fisheries Per Sandberg in Tromsø last week.
- Terrific demand
The relationship between Norway and China has been strained since the Nobel Peach Prize awarding in 2010, and Norwegian exporters and companies in China have demanding times operating in the country. Following Norway and China’s announcement last December, in which they agree to work practically towards a full normalization of the political relationship, there are now high expectations of a fruitful cooperation ahead:
- China has the potential to become a significant market for Norwegian seafood. Hopefully Norwegian companies will now be better able to participate in the development of the Chinese seafood market, where there is a terrific demand, Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg comments.
Today Mæland and Sandberg invite Norwegian businesses to a meeting about China in order to discuss opportunities and challenges. The meeting has been previously announced, but the department now reports that it has been moved to a larger venue in Oslo.
China is Norway’s largest trade partner in Asia, and despite the rather cool relationship since 2010, retail trade has increased significantly during the past few years. In 2016 it reached a 86.8 billion NOK turnover, while in 2011 it was 62.8 billion.
The negotiations about a free-trade agreement were initiated in 2008 and the last rounds of negotiations took place in Oslo in September 2010. The Chinese have also asked that the negotiations be resumed as soon as possible.