Official visit to UAE: Opening of business seminar in Dubai
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honour to stand before you today.
This is my second visit to Dubai. It is invigorating to be back in this city where the pace is high and the visions are ambitious. I enjoyed my last visit in November 2009 when I had the pleasure to meet with HH Sheikh Mohammed, the Ruler of Dubai and Prime minister of The UAE, and with HH Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai. Their Highnesses gave me an excellent introduction to the visions of Dubai and the future plans of the leadership to go forward, despite global economic setbacks. What has happened in Dubai over the recent 10 years is remarkable and spectacular. Nobody who visits Dubai, remains indifferent to this city’s speedy developments and its variety of opportunities. I congratulate you on what you have achieved thus far and I am pleased to note that several Norwegian companies have been involved.
Today, Dubai and Norway are improving and expanding already excellent relations. I have been looking forward to this visit to Dubai. I am joined by the Minister of Trade and Industry, the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and a very senior business delegation. Among the companies there are representatives of our world’s leading maritime supply industry and from the well-renowned information and communication cluster. These companies will present themselves and their technologies later today in the seminars.
Like the UAE, Norway is a seafaring nation. Throughout history exposure to the sea and reliance on the daily catch for survival was important. Over the years we have acquired enormous expertise within the maritime sector. Norway has been a prominent ship building nation and maritime services producing nation for generations. This sector continues to be one of the backbones of the Norwegian economy. Several of our excellent maritime companies are represented in Dubai – and has been working out of Dubai for several decades.
Lately, several Norwegian high tech information and communication technology firms have followed more traditional Norwegian enterprises to Dubai. Dubai is well placed in the region with a growing home market and with excellent infrastructure and facilities for re-export into other markets in the region. Norwegian companies are eager to introduce their technologies and services to this region.
Exports from Norway to the UAE have doubled over the past 3 years and is increasing in spite of the global economic downturn over the past 1,5 years. UAE has become the fifth most important export market for both goods and services for Norwegian businesses in the Middle East and Asian regions.
The achievements of your nation, the United Arab Emirates, are inspiring. We want to learn more about your country and where the UAE are heading and to discuss the potential for increased economic cooperation. I am delighted to be here. And I look forward to this plenary and the ensuing seminars in order to share experiences.