Speech/statement | Date: 05/11/2012
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Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today.
I would like to thank the Government of Laos for its hospitality and for hosting this important summit.
ASEM is shaping the future relations between Asia and Europe.
It has been a priority for Norway to become member.
Thank you for supporting our membership.
Norway is strongly engaged in the issues discussed in ASEM.
Our interests and activities in Asia build on our long history as a nation of seafarers.
- Today, our ships are built in this region.
- And more and more of their business is in Asia.
- Even Norwegian oilrigs operate here.
Asia has seen tremendous economic growth in recent decades. Millions have been lifted out of poverty faster than ever before in recent history.
Asia’s growth is also benefitting the rest of the world through increased opportunities for trade and investments. Today, this region is a driving force in the global economy.
Norway strongly supports closer integration and cooperation between Europe and Asia.
Our involvement in Asia is steadily expanding. We are currently in the process of entering into a formal cooperation with ASEAN.
The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund has invested about 80 billion US dollars in Asian equities and fixed income holdings. That is a strong vote of confidence in the Asian economies.
We welcome the growing Asian interest in our policies on the High North, climate change, and energy.
The melting ice in the Arctic is of great concern. But it also gives rise to new opportunities.
The opening of the Arctic Sea Route offers tremendous opportunities for increased trade and cooperation. It reduces the sailing time between Europe and Asia by around 40 per cent. This will benefit both Europe and Asia.
Energy security is essential for economic development. Norway is the third largest energy exporter globally.
We have proven to be a reliable energy supplier – and will continue to be so in the future.
Increased energy consumption should not undermine sustainable development and international climate targets. Norway is looking forward to working with Asian countries on renewable energy and climate friendly technologies.
This summit is a great opportunity to exchange ideas and build new partnerships.
Let’s get to work.