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Iceland and China are set to sign a free trade agreement in the coming weeks, marking a historic moment for both countries. The deal is expected to boost economic ties and open up new opportunities for businesses to expand into new markets.

The agreement comes after several years of negotiations between the two countries, with talks initially beginning in 2006. The deal is expected to lower tariffs on a wide range of goods, including seafood, minerals, and agricultural products.

For Iceland, the free trade agreement is seen as an important step towards diversifying its trade partners beyond Europe. With Brexit looming, Iceland is keen to establish closer ties with other major global economies, such as China.

For China, the deal is an important part of its “Belt and Road Initiative,” which aims to build economic and trade ties with countries along the ancient Silk Road. Iceland`s strategic location between Europe and North America also makes it an attractive partner for China, as it offers a gateway for Chinese goods and investment into the rest of the region.

The free trade agreement is also expected to have wider implications for global trade, with both Iceland and China keen to promote free and fair trade. With the United States and other major economies facing protectionist pressures, the Iceland-China deal sends a positive signal to the rest of the world about the benefits of open markets and economic cooperation.

However, there are also concerns that the deal could have negative effects on Iceland`s environment and labor standards. Critics have warned that the agreement could lead to increased exploitation of Iceland`s natural resources, including its fisheries and geothermal energy, as well as to lower wages and working conditions for Icelandic workers.

To address these concerns, the Icelandic government has pledged to ensure that the deal includes strong environmental and labor protections. The government has also committed to monitoring the agreement closely to ensure that it benefits all Icelanders, not just a small elite.

Overall, the Iceland-China free trade agreement is a significant development for both countries, with the potential to boost economic growth, trade, and innovation. However, as with all trade deals, it is important to ensure that the benefits are shared fairly and that environmental and social standards are upheld.