Speech/statement | Date: 29/10/2019
Tale holdt av Fiskeri- og sjømatminister Nesvik under "Norway - China Seafood Summit 2019 i Qingdao 29. oktober 2019
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear seafood friends,
It is a true pleasure and honour for me to be here, to open the annual Norway-China Seafood Summit 2019. I am pleased to see so many people gathered to discuss a topic that is indeed close to my heart – seafood!
This year’s summit is all about the future seafood trade between Norway and China. It is all set for an exciting day here in the beautiful coastal city of Qingdao.
First, I would like to thank you for making me – and the rest of the delegation from Norway – feel very welcome in China.
A special thanks to the Norwegian Seafood Council for hosting this magnificent event in collaboration with the Norwegian Embassy and Innovation Norway.
Relations between Norway and China are constructive and good, and have developed rapidly the last couple of years, in all areas of cooperation.
The regular exchange of high level visits contributes to building trust and confidence – and friendship!
The successful state visit from Their Majesties the King and Queen of Norway to China in October last year lifted our bilateral relations to a new level. The biggest business delegation from Norway ever, to any country, accompanied the Royals.
The visit of the Chairman of the People's Congress Mr. Li to Norway in May this year also boosted our bilateral economic relationship.
Top leaders of Chinese and Norwegian global companies exchanged experiences and knowledge in a roundtable meeting with Chairman Li.
The main objective of my visit is to continue working to ensure market access for Norwegian seafood to China. Having said this, I hope my visit will be yet another contribution to strengthening the bilateral relations between our countries – and to increase the trade in seafood.
Norway-China Seafood Summit has become a valuable meeting place for the Norwegian and Chinese seafood industries.
I dare say that it has also become an essential part of the big event that starts tomorrow – China Fisheries and Seafood Expo.
This gathering of representatives from the Norwegian and Chinese seafood industries is, in my opinion, an excellent warm up before the Expo tomorrow.
I look forward to attending the Expo and hope to see many of you there as well.
Norway and China are powerful seafood nations. On each side of the world, far away from each other, our two countries have always benefitted from the wealth of the sea. For centuries, we have developed our own seafood traditions for production, export and consumption.
Today, China is one of the world's most dynamic and exciting seafood markets. Almost 80 percent of Chinese consumers eat seafood every week.
We are therefore humbled and flattered that Chinese consumers are quickly developing an appetite for our seafood. China is not only the third largest market for our seafood, but also the fastest growing seafood market for delicacies from our cold and clear waters!
Seafood creates inspiration and curiosity across cuisines and cultures. This is also part of the success of Norwegian seafood, today being exported to almost 150 markets worldwide.
Norwegian seafood has always been an international commodity. And we have been able to exchange our seafood exports for valuable assets.
We brought our fish to the world, and we brought the world home again, in the shape of products, knowledge, and relations.
Products, which we did not know and which enriched Norwegian cuisine. Knowledge, about how to prepare and enhance our seafood. And relations, in terms of trading partners, but also friends, connecting Norway with the world.
Now, Norway is connecting to China like never before.
Chinese are sophisticated seafood consumers. The Chinese tradition of seafood consumption, both in terms of utilizing a range of marine species and on how to consume the whole fish from head to stomach, is something to draw inspiration from in the context of sustainable use of marine resources.
So far, Chinese consumers are most familiar with the Norwegian salmon. The salmon’s success increases hand in hand with modern food trends, whereby its delicious taste is still the key driver of its popularity.
At the same time, the Norwegian Arctic cod has great potential in the Chinese market, well suited to, and compatible with, Chinese cuisine.
And we hope that you – just like your neighbours in this region – will soon discover the Norwegian mackerel – a fish favoured worldwide for its firm, succulent meat packed with protein, vitamin D and lots of healthy omega-3.
I am pleased that new market opportunities for Norwegian pelagic fish in China will be discussed later in today's program.
Let me extend my gratitude to the Norwegian Seafood Council for their efforts to promote this important sector of the Norwegian seafood industry. The potential for growth in pelagic seafood in the Chinese market is substantial.
In addition to health benefits and tastes, food safety and sustainability are becoming increasingly important factors for consumers worldwide.
Norway has strict regulations that ensure that all our seafood is safe.
As a major seafood exporter, it is of great importance to be open and transparent about how we produce seafood and how we ensure it is safe.
I am very pleased that there is a close cooperation between the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the General Administration of Customs China. We have solved some important issues, and we still have a few more to deal with. I am confident that the good relationship between our authorities over time will contribute to a stable and foreseeable trade regime for seafood.
With our unique location, where the cold Arctic waters meet the warm Gulf Stream, the seafood conditions in Norwegian waters are just perfect.
The seafood industry has been identified as one of the most important industries for the Norwegian economy in the future.
However, pollution, marine litter and overfishing are some of the worldwide challenges that threaten our future.
Therefore, we must continue to strive for clean and rich seas and provide global leadership in knowledge and technology.
We believe that responsible use of the ocean is the best way to solve the challenges.
And we have world-leading expertise that can help to develop the seafood industry, not only at home in Norway, but also in other parts of the world.
Actually, you are already taking part in this adventure. The offshore installation for production of salmon, Ocean Farm 1, was built here in Qingdao! Now you have your very own Deep Blue No 1.
This proves you are a partner in developing the global seafood market through developing knowledge and competencies on the riches of the ocean.
It looks like aquaculture technology and equipment may well become the next major industry for cooperation between our two countries.
Last year, the Norwegian Government launched an ocean strategy. It stretches from green technology, digital solutions and innovative use of the marine resources to international diplomacy and the fight against overfishing.
The success of our strategy will depend on our continued ability to combine our historic knowledge with innovation and research.
As two of the world's leading seafood nations, we must take responsibility and guide the rest of the world to make the ocean a priority.
We must combine the long experience we have accumulated over time with new knowledge to find good solutions to save the ocean and the valuable marine resources living in it.
Furthermore, Norway and China share a commitment to the United Nation’s sustainable development goals. We both see innovation as the key to a brighter future. We should focus on how we can create new business opportunities and at the same time take care of the world.
I hope this seafood summit will give inspiration, context and understanding for further cooperation and future partnerships.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Norway and China will both participate at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.
The Norwegian pavilion will be shaped like a ship. This is to symbolize the theme of Norway's participation at the Expo; "Pioneering sustainable ocean solutions." Out of more than 190 countries participating, Norway is the only country with the ocean as a theme.
For six months, our pavilion will be packed with ocean technologies of the future.
But more importantly. The Chinese and Norwegian pavilions will be located in the same area; in the area called "opportunity." I think this is a testimony to our shared vision of a sustainable blue future.
We greatly appreciate the bilateral relationship that continues to develop between our two countries.
Concluding the Free Trade Agreement between Norway and China is a priority for the Norwegian government.
The agreement will lead to improved market access and predictability for both seafood exporters and importers – and boost our trade relations to the next level.
Finally, the agreement will be a testament to our belief in the importance of economic cooperation in times of growing protectionism in global trade.
As we look ahead to the new era of blue cooperation between China and Norway, I am certain that we will continue to share our expertise and build upon our unique and strong relationships.
Dear seafood friends,
The future is right here, right now. It comes rolling towards us faster than ever before.
The ocean will play an important part in our fortune, our destiny and our existence.
As we are moving forward, we have to make sure we are moving in the right direction. A greener direction. So that our planet remains blue.
Let us continue to share a commitment to build future partnerships in innovation, business and trade.
Seafood is not about the past.
It is all about our future.