New Silk Route across the Arctic Sea
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Mr Ossur Skarphedinsson, said that a new Silk Route will open for shipping in the Arctic Sea, making shorter the distance between China and Europe by way of Iceland. Minister Skarphedinsson made the comments at a conference hosted by the Iceland-China Trade Council which was held in Kopavogur on 26 May to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Iceland and China.
The Minister spoke about the history of Iceland-China relations and the growing importance of bilateral business between the two countries. He praised China for their important support during difficult times including the Cod Wars and recetly within the International Monetary Fund after the collapse of Icelandic banks. He said that the trade relations between the two countries could be traced back to the settlement of Iceland when carved walrus and narwhale teeth were traded for silk.
Mr Skarphedinsson said that the new route would open earlier than most expected, even in ten years, thereby shortening the sailing time between China and mainland Europe and the US East Coast by about 40 per cent. The new route will create opportunities for cooperation between Iceland and China. and discussions are ongoing on how to utilise them. In addition, the Minister discussed opportunities for bilateral cooperation in geothermal resources for house heating with cooperative projects already in operation in China. Lastly, the Minister also discussed the achievements of Icelandic companies have had in the Chinese market, particularly the computer gaming company CCP.
The conference was held in cooperation with the Confucius Institute, Deloitte, Icelandair, CCP, Icelandic Business Forum, Promote Iceland and Össur.