|China Slows down Imports and Refuses Visas to Norwegian Media|
| [22.09.2011, 05:53am, Thu. GMT]|
|China disputes Norway - visas are refused to certain Media - Norwegian Minister may take China to WTO. Almost one year after awarding the Peace Prize award to dissident, Liu Xiaobo, salmon exportation to China has greatly slowed down. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store stated to TV 2 that he is now considering taking the Chinese trade conflict to the WTO.Marine Harvest Communications Manager, Jorgen Christiansen states, “We have a dedicated website in China with our own logo and name, “Big and beautiful” Our name is interpreted by the Chinese as "Big and beautiful," says Christiansen.|
Regime tested for Peace
Due to successful marketing, Norwegian salmon has been widely available in Chinese supermarkets and restaurants until late autumn of 2010. This changed dramatically when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo.
Exporters of salmon to China were immediately penalized. The fish were delayed entry at airports until they become inedible.
Christiansen states, “Since last December we have not been able to sell Norwegian salmon in China. The Chinese government has introduced a slowed down ‘quality testing’ regimen. By the time we have results the salmon are too old.”
“Do these rules apply only to Norwegian salmon?”
“Yes, only to Norwegian salmon. We can easily sell salmon from Scotland. The Scottish Seafood Companies are rubbing their hands now,” says Christiansen.
Plunged by 60 percent
Marine Harvest has additional facilities in Chile and Scotland and these plants have increased exports. Imports of samon directly from Norwegian fish farms such as Marine Harvest and its competitor, Leroy, have almost completely ceased in China.
Some Norwegian salmon now comes in through Hong Kong but overall, exports of fresh Norwegian salmon to China have plunged by 60 percent.
Minister will take action
Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store told TV 2 that he was considering taking the dispute to the World Trade Organization, WTO.
“Both China and Norway are members of the WTO, so there are clear rules for trade to run smoothly,” says the Minister.
The Minister continues, “I cannot say there are political reasons that are causing this but I feel the industry believes the Peace Prize is behind these actions. We cannot exclude that possibility. If necessary, we will take this to the WTO. The WTO is there for this purpose - to prevent actions that are illegal.”
Aftenposten's VISA blocked.
Aftenposten had planned to attend a climate conference in China alongside Norway’s Oil and Energy Minister but not received visas from Chinese Authorities.
Oil and Energy Minister, Ola Borten Moe, will arrive in China to attend a Major International Climate Conference in Beijing.
Aftenposten wanted to cover the conference but has not received visas from Chinese Authorities. Aftenposten reporter, Kristoffer Rønneberg, submitted a visa application to China's embassy in Norway two weeks ago.
Rønneberg has covered China for years from both Beijing and Oslo, In stark contrast, VG and Dagens Næringsliv journalists have been given visas to cover the conference in Beijing.
This has caused Aftenposten's editor Hilde Haugsgjerd to react strongly.
“I wonder what kind of justification the Chinese embassy has not to give Aftenposten journalists a visa,” says Hilde Haugsgjerd.
Aftenposten's editor, Haugsgjerd, states, ”It is in China's own interest that relationships between China and Norway are normalized and Norwegian readers are informed about events at the Global Climate Conference. We were scheduled to interview Minister Ola Borten Moe in Beijing. Is this in keeping with China's open line?”
Passive Oil Minister
Representatives of Petroleum and Energy have made it clear that Minister Ola Borten Moe does not want to speak to Chinese officials about Norway's largest newspaper being refused entry to China.
“I had expected the government representative would make it clear that Norway’s largest newspaper must be treated on par with other Norwegian media. But there has not been much help,” he states.
“They have washed their hands and stated it is up to the Chinese and they cannot contribute.”
Editors says that, ”a journalists’ ability to report is about freedom of information and freedom of speech - the fundamental values we stand for.”
“I find it odd that the Oil and Energy Minister does not say this to the Chinese hosts.”
“We will investigate the matter further,” says communications consultant Martha Kopstad of Foreign Affairs.
Aftenposten tried to contact the Chinese Embassy in Oslo by telephone. When it proved impossible to get answers, Aftenposten went up to the embassy to speak with Embassy Press Counsellor, Xu Sisheng.
“This is not an interview, and I do not want to be shot,” said Xu.
He had no other comments on Aftenposten not receiving visas.
“This is not an issue for the Press Department. You must contact the visa department,” Xu said in English.
“If the press department cannot speak, can the embassy's management speak?”
“If you prefer, you can send an e-mail to the embassy's leadership,” said Xu.
US confirms to Taiwan
China warned that the potential $5.3 billion U.S. arms sale will harm its "core interests" in Taiwan and damage China-U.S. military and security cooperation.
The retrofit of 145 Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 A/B aircraft will give them essentially the same capabilities as late-model F-16 C/Ds that Taiwan sought to deter any attack, U.S. officials told reporters ahead of the notification.
In the U.S. Congress, 47 of the 100 U.S. senators and 181 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives have written to President Barack Obama since May to urge him to sell Taiwan at least 66 late-model F-16 C/D planes.
The Taiwan was one of the founding members of the United Nations and a permanent member of the Security Council from its creation in 1945.
Taiwan continues to call on the international body to recognize the rights of the 23 million people of Taiwan, who since 1971 have received no representation in the UN.
China government has never held jurisdiction over Taiwan and that the United Nations has never taken a formal stance regarding the sovereignty of Taiwan.
China says ties with Latin America
China on Wednesday said its economic relations with Latin America boosted the region's economic and social development.
China's direct investment in Latin America, excluding the financial types of investment, totaled 11 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, ranging from minerals and manufacturing to infrastructure and agriculture.
China enters the Norwegian Sea
The Heilo field 40 kilometers north of Honningsvåg in Finnmark County is believed to hold 100-300 million barrels of oil. The biggest shareholder in Heilo is Gas de France Suez (GdF Suez). Repsol and Rocksource are also partners in the project.
The Chinese state company China Investment Corporation recently bought 30 percent of the oil and gas division in GdF Suez, thus bringing the Chinese state indirect access to the oil and gas activities in the Norwegian - Barents Sea.