China snubs Nor-Shipping for third time

Despite some signs that diplomatic relations between Norway and China may soon normalize, Chinese state-owned companies won’t be attending or exhibiting at this year’s large Nor-Shipping conference in Lillestrøm.

Nearly three years have passed since China and Norway cooperated in joint trade endeavours, like this one in June 2010. PHOTO: Nærings- og Handelsdepartementet

“Relating to China, the situation is unchanged from the last Nor-Shipping exhibition two years ago,” Vidar Pederstad, Nor-Shipping director, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) on Thursday. That was when Chinese state-owned firms withdrew after years of participation in the large shipping industry gathering.

While only “economic reasons” were cited by the Chinese, the absence of the country’s state-owned shipyards and suppliers has been linked to China’s anger over the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010. China blamed the Norwegian government, and diplomatic relations between Norway and China have been all but frozen ever since. Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide has confirmed efforts to normalize relations, but now it seems the Chinese are still snubbing Norway, at least officially.

“There will be a Chinese pavilion and we have some participants, but unfortunately none of the state-owned companies,” Pederstad told DN. “I understand there is interest on their part to be represented at Nor-Shipping, but our impression is that they’re not allowed to attend by the authorities.”

Trade Minister Trond Giske will open the exhibition along with the secretary general of the International Maritime Organization, Koji Sekimizu, on June 4.


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