Trade and investment opportunities in the energy and maritime sectors in Mexico

Høvik, 18 June 2015

State Secretary Morten Høglund's opening remarks at the seminar "Trade and Investment Opportunities in Mexico" at Høvik 18 June 2015.

Mr Ambassador,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here today, and I would like to thank the organisers – especially the Mexican embassy – for making this seminar possible. I am delighted to see so many of you here today.

At the end of April, I had an interesting and productive trip to Mexico. Today's topic – increased trade between our two countries and increased investment opportunities – was one of the main objectives of my visit.

Mexico has undertaken ambitious reforms in several sectors to make it easier for the international business community to operate and invest in the country.

I am impressed by the dedication, commitment and speed with which the relevant stakeholders have designed and drawn up a truly comprehensive package of reforms for the energy sector.

I am pleased that Mexico, in this process, has looked to Norway and our considerable experience in extracting and managing our oil and gas resources in the most sustainable way possible.

And – I see great new opportunities for Norwegian companies in the opening up of the energy sector in Mexico.

Norway welcomes the news that Statoil is one of 26 prequalified companies in the first concession round for production in shallow water.[1] We are hoping for a positive outcome when the results are announced around 15 July.

Norway has extensive experience of extracting oil and gas under difficult conditions. Permits for the seven seismic studies in the Gulf of Mexico's deep-water fields – which will be conducted by private companies for the first time – have also been awarded to the Norwegian firms TGS, PGS, Dophin and Spectrum.

I am proud to say that our advanced technology, our expertise, our cost effectiveness and our environmentally friendly solutions have proven successful in major offshore oil fields all over the world.

Norway had been a maritime nation for more than a thousand years before we discovered oil and gas. Today, our high-tech maritime industry is an important part of our economy.

In May, the Government launched a new maritime strategy with a number of ambitious goals – especially within green shipping. In our opinion, a competitive maritime sector is a green maritime sector.

I believe that Norway and Mexico have similar views here, given our close cooperation on climate and environmental matters.

As a trading nation with an open economy, Norway is also dependent on access to international markets. In early June, the Government launched a white paper outlining how we work to secure increased market access for Norwegian companies and greater predictability when it comes to investments and the export of goods and services.

We are currently in dialogue with Mexico about the possibility of updating the existing free trade agreement between Efta and Mexico in the near future.

In addition, the Government is working for an increased number of bilateral investment treaties. We are currently conducting a public consultation on a draft model treaty. When this process is completed, Norway will consider which countries we will seek to start negotiations with.

As I see it, the recipe for Norwegian success in Mexico has three main ingredients: transparent and predictable conditions for private sector investment and operations, a well-functioning judicial system, and a business environment that is conducive to corporate social responsibility.

Mexico's decision to hold concession rounds based on transparent accounting, public access to information and clear ethical guidelines is a good start.

In addition, Mexico is looking into the possibility of becoming a member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. This would be an important step towards ensuring the sustainable and socially responsible development of Mexico's vast natural resources.

Developing our bilateral relations and seeking new opportunities for trade and investment between our two countries is a priority for Norway. This seminar provides an excellent opportunity to exchange views and make new contacts with a view to expanding our cooperation. I wish you all a productive seminar.

¡Gracias!

[1] 14 agreements are to be made