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Iceland and China to start free trade talks

China’s Ministry of Commerce said China would start free trade talks with Iceland and that there is great potential in cooperation between the two countries.

According to CCTV.com, the Ministry recently issued a statement saying Iceland would be the first developed European country to hold free trade talks with China.

The statement said potential cooperation areas were in fisheries, geothermal energy, engineering, ship-building and aluminum production.

The announcement follows the opening of a new civic geothermal heating system in Xian Yang in China. Iceland’s Foreign Minister Valgerdur Sverrisdóttir was present at the opening, as RÚV reports.

The new utility, which has the potential to become the largest in the world, is a co-operative between Nordic companies and the Chinese government.

Enex, an Icelandic geothermal development company in which the government has partial ownership, played a significant role in the utility’s development and is currently working in other locations in China.

Sverrisdóttir told RÚV that she is satisfied with Iceland’s participation in constructing the heating utility as she finds it important for Icelanders to export their expertise in geothermal heating systems.

Sverrisdóttir added that she hopes this is only the beginning of Icelandic-Chinese relations.

Yesterday Sverrisdóttir was present when the office of Glitnir opened in Shanghai as the first Icelandic investment company to have an office in China. Glitnir also participated in the heating utility project.

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