On Thursday, Liberal Party leader Gauri Melby (V) said Dagbladet It believes that Norway should end negotiations on a free trade agreement with China as a result of how the country responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The government does not agree.
I think Melby believes that negotiations on a free trade agreement with China should be ended, because China is not actively opposed to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Secretary of State Henrik Thun (Labour) at the Foreign Office (MFA) tells Dagbladet that I do not share Melby’s analysis or conclusion.
He thinks it would be negative for Norway to end the negotiations.
Concluding negotiations on a free trade agreement with China will not help Ukraine. Instead, it won’t affect Chinese politics or society much. On the other hand, it will be negative for Norway, which will therefore not have the same market access in China as many of its competitors.
beware of china
Melby warned, among other things, that if Norway becomes more dependent on China, it may be difficult for Norway to distance itself from China if it does something that Norway wants to distance itself from. She believes that the war in Ukraine has shown how dangerous it is to rely on trade with authoritarian regimes, and refers in particular to Europe’s gas trade with Russia.
We cannot allow ourselves to be dictated by what China thinks is acceptable to say or do, the liberal leader replied when asked if she thought Norway should be willing to step on the toes of China.
FM Thun agrees.
I agree with Melby that we cannot allow ourselves to be dictated by China. We don’t do that either. For example, we are clear in our contacts with China that we are concerned about developments in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
It has asked China to stop Russia
Furthermore, Thun says Norway has asked China to stop Russia.
“The government called on China, a permanent member of the Security Council, to defend international law and the Charter of the United Nations and defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
We also asked China to use its influence against Russia to end hostilities. This government stands firmly in its support of Ukraine, but the Russian invasion does not mean that we cut ties with China.
KrF against negotiations
Kurdistan Union leader Uluj Polisad told Dagbladet that her party believes Norway should stop negotiations if China supports Russia militarily in the war.
– The KrF believes that Norway should inform China that we will immediately suspend FTA negotiations if China chooses to support Russia militarily in the Ukraine war, Bulstad tells Dagbladet and continues:
– This is not an easy message to deliver to China. But the suffering of the Ukrainian people in a war of which they are innocent requires us to take positions that may cost us.
Thun believes that a free trade agreement with China could benefit Norwegian business.
Negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with China are part of our broader relationship with China. He says the FTA does not mean that we are aware of everything the Chinese authorities are doing, but it is aimed at giving Norwegian business and industry better conditions in the face of the world’s largest market.
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”