Official visit to Brazil: Opening of business seminars
ladies and gentlemen
É um prazer estar aqui no Brasil – and here in Rio de Janeiro!
It is very nice to be back in Rio. I have family here so I have had a close relationship with Rio for a long time. It is a beautiful city.
Today’s seminar is in many ways the centrepiece of our visit. It brings together people from the worlds of business, politics, academia and government. And it is an opportunity to share Brazilian and Norwegian perspectives and foster good ideas and fruitful partnerships for the future.
Brazil is Norway’s most important business partner in Latin America. Our commercial relations began with the trade in seafood for coffee more than 170 years ago. I am proud that the quality of Bacalhau-da-Noruega is still very much appreciated in Brazil today, making up one fifth of Norwegian exports to Brazil.
However, we have definitely expanded into other sectors as well and made substantial investments in a number of them, most notably in oil and gas. Brazil is the third largest market for our oil supply and service industry. Also, Norwegian shipowners play an active role in the operation on the Brazilian continental shelf. Norwegian companies have a significant presence in a variety of other sectors – from renewable energy and fertilizers to paint and aluminium.
Norway will continue to take a long-term approach to our investments in Brazil. The presence here today of more than 500 participants is a testimony to that.
Brazil has a prominent voice in the world and has power and influence on the international stage. Norway is a smaller country, but we share many of the same values and cooperate closely in many areas. In my delegation, there is one minister and five deputy ministers with individual programmes with their Brazilian counterparts these days.
Among our common interests, I would like to highlight our partnership to protect the Amazon rainforest, which is vital in the struggle against climate change. The Norwegian commitment to the Amazon Fund is as strong as ever, and, by the end of this year, we will have contributed 1 billion US dollars to the Fund for the impressive reductions in deforestation achieved in Brazil.
Brazil is also a prominent international partner in the field of education and research. In engineering, environmental sciences, business, agriculture, and many other sectors – students and scientists in Brazil and Norway are collaborating. We hope this cooperation will continue, and I am happy that I have the opportunity to meet with both students and scientists during this visit.
In the energy sector, Brazil and Norway share many of the same challenges in our offshore activities. Both countries have vast oil and gas resources in a demanding offshore environment, and we are both seeking to use and manage our rich natural resources in a responsible and effective way. We are both striving to develop our energy resources to meet the future demand for energy. Norway and Brazil are working together to develop tomorrow's technological solutions for the oil and gas sector.
Our two countries are also two of the world's leading hydropower producers. In fact, by far the largest share of electricity in both countries is produced by renewable and clean hydropower. This means that we have common ground for continuing our already close cooperation in this area.
Close partnerships in the private sector, between the various industries and businesses, will bring new ideas, knowledge and better solutions for the benefit of economic development and job creation. This seminar testifies to that vision.
I think all this makes it safe to say that there will be a lot to talk about over the next few days. I am confident that this seminar will provide a lively meeting place for enthusiastic participants exchanging ideas and examining the variety of options before us.
It is often said that Brazil is a continent in itself, with huge variations and an abundance of resources that continue to offer great opportunities.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is a lot to discuss. Let’s get down to business!