Business / Economy

Icelandic parliament passes China-Iceland FTA

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-01-30 06:44

REYKJAVIK -  The Icelandic parliament on Wednesday ratified a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China.

The Althing, the parliament of Iceland, passed the resolution with a voting of 56 in favor and two against, while three abstained.

Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson said that "the agreement would create great business opportunities and a chance to strengthen Iceland's partnership with China in other areas."

Fiance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, was cited by the local newspaper Morgunbladid, as saying that the agreement, which covers goods and services, trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, competition and investment, will enable Iceland to open up a booming market in the coming decades. He advised Icelandic businesses to take advantage of it.

The head of the economic and commercial counsellor's office of the Chinese Embassy in Iceland, Xie Guoxiang, said the result showed the two countries' willingness to boost their economic and trade ties, praising the FTA as a milestone for both nations.

The FTA negotiation between China and Iceland commenced in December, 2006 but was suspended in 2009 following Iceland's attempts to join the European Union.

The negotiation resumed in 2012 and was finally settled after six rounds of negotiations, with the signing of the agreement during the then Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir's official visit to China in April, 2013.

According to the FTA, Iceland will implement zero tariff on all industrial products and fishery products imported from China which accounted for 99.77 percent of the total China's exports to Iceland, after the agreement coming into effect.

Meanwhile, China will implement zero tariff on goods under 7,380 tariff numbers imported from Iceland, which accounted for 81.56 percent of China's total imports from Iceland, including its aquatic products.

After the final establishment of the FTA between China and Iceland, zero tariff shall apply to 96 percent of goods in terms of tariff number, or 100 percent in terms of trade volume.

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