BEIJING (AP) -- Iceland and China are to sign a free trade agreement that should boost exports from the isolated Nordic state to the world's second-largest economy.
The signing expected Monday will make Iceland the first European nation to have a free trade deal with China. It comes at the start of a five-day visit to China by Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir that highlights her country's attempts to diversify an economy that was badly mauled by the bursting of a massive financial bubble in 2008.
Iceland also has unique importance to China as it attempts to gain a foothold in the Arctic, where melting ice is opening passages for shipping and could create a boom in extraction of resources such as gas, oil, diamonds, gold and iron.
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