People’s Daily, Beijing, 18 May 2005
China, Iceland agree to start FTA feasibility research
China and Iceland on Tuesday agreed to start feasibility research on forging a free trade area.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Icelandic counterpart Olafur Ragnar Grimsson both agreed to the study and hailed their political, economic and trade ties during talks in the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.
China and Iceland have maintained frequent high-level visits, expanding trade and economic cooperation and sound cooperation in international affairs, Hu said.
China appreciated Iceland’s adherence to the one-China policy and support to its effort in reunification, Hu said, adding that China spoke highly of Iceland’s recognition of the country’s market economy status.
Hu said China will keep high-level visits, further enhance exchange and dialogue between the two countries’ governments, legislature and parties in a bid to enhance political ties.
China will also strive to further promote economic cooperation and trade with Iceland, especially in communication, telecommunications, environmental protection, finance and two-way investment, Hu said.
The Chinese president said China will deepen cooperation with Iceland on culture and encourage non-official exchange.
He said that China understands Iceland’s desire to play a bigger role in the international arena and will enhance consultation and coordination with it in international organizations and multilateral affairs.
Grimsson, who is here on a week-long visit as guest of Hu Jintao, said Iceland will strengthen dialogue and exchange with China at all levels and hopes to be China’s major trade partner.
Iceland will further its cooperation with China on terrestrial heat, fishery, health care, aviation, transportation, education and tourism, he said.
The two presidents were present at the signing ceremony of four agreements on environmental protection, earthquake research, aviation and telecommunication respectively, after their talks.
Grimsson arrived in Beijing on Monday for his first China tour after taking office as president in August 1996.
On the sidelines of his visit to the Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Co., Beijing (AMECO Beijing) Tuesday morning, a 15 million US dollars worth contract was signed between AMOCO and an Icelandic aviation company.
Accompanying Grimsson on the visit are more than 200 government officials, business people and journalists. Besides Beijing, the 62-year-old president will also travel to Shanghai, China’s economic hub, and east China’s Shandong Province.