Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphédinsson confirmed last week on behalf of Iceland that talks on a free trade agreement with Russia will begin early next year. The confirmation was made at an EFTA summit in Geneva on Tuesday.
From the EFTA ministerial meeting. Courtesy of the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
At the summit the EFTA states also confirmed the launch of free trade talks with Belarus and Kazakhstan; both countries have a customs alliance with Russia, a press release from the Foreign Ministry of Iceland states.
Skarphédinsson said in his speech that a free trade agreement with Russia is important to Iceland as Iceland exports products and services to Russia to a considerable extent. The agreement could further such trade, the minister reasoned.
He also declared the talks an important step towards continued positive development of the relations between the two countries.
Skarphédinsson added that Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin recently expressed his approval of Icelandic participation in extensive geothermal energy projects in eastern Russia and possibly in other areas as well.
Click here to read more about the potential energy cooperation between Iceland and Russia.