Tale/innlegg | Dato: 06.03.2014 | Nærings- og fiskeridepartementet
Norway's minister of trade and industry Monica Mæland's speech at NASF 2014, 5th March in Bergen.
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Dear Ministers, officials and representatives for the sea-food industry from all over the world.
Welcome to Norway and to the beautiful city of Bergen – the Norwegian sea-food capital.
For Norway the sea has always been our source of food, survival, welfare and prosperity.
And the industry grows even stronger. The export figures for 2013 confirm how important the Norwegian seafood industry is – and how present it is, all over the world.
Last year the value of our sea food export, was all time high – almost 61 billion Norwegian kroner (or seven point three billion Euros).
This January Marine Harvest – as the first sea-farming company – was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. This marks a new era for the company and for Norwegian sea-food industry.
The Norwegian Government has stated that we will facilitate predictable growth in aquaculture.
This is important for long-term planning, and to maintain sustainable growth. We aim to increase capacity through new licenses, and by increasing the maximum allowed biomass in existing licenses.
However, we have to have to balance growth and environmental issues, and have a generational perspective in everything we do. It is essential that the aquaculture industry and its suppliers help to reduce the footprint on the environment.
Norwegian sea-food industry is not only important to Norway – it has also an important global mission: It helps secure healthy food for the world’s growing population.
Estimates show that the world must increase food production by 70 percent by 2050. And it is obvious that sea-food will play an important role in solving the challenge of food security.
Norwegian seafood industry has the potential, and Norway will do what we can do to increase our production – in a sustainable way. And the vision for the future of our seafood industry is very promising.
Norwegian marine industries have potential to grow from 11 billion Euros in turnover today, to 66 billion Euros in 2050.
This is really good news.
Norway’s vision is to supply fresh, high quality fish all year around.
This is not a problem for the salmon production, but it is for fresh cod.
The volumes of cod export peaked last year, but the value of the exports does not follow at the same rate.
While export volumes of cod grew by 38 percent, there was only a slight increase in value of 4 percent.
This is clearly a challenge.
Cod has an untapped potential and the key is to be able to offer more cod in other parts of the year. This means that we have to set aside larger quantities of cod for live storage for 2014.
The Government is improving the conditions for growth for all businesses. We are making it easier to invest in companies by reducing taxes. Private ownership are stimulated, and our goal is that more private capital finds it way back to the business sector to secure jobs and increase our value creation.
An important area of policy is to intensify our effort on the fields of research and innovation. Research and innovation are the main drivers for future growth.
The Norwegian sea-food industry is already a driving force for Norwegian research and technology development. The overall marine industry's position today is an example of how knowledge is driving business development.
We take pride in our marine research institutions here in Bergen. Their effort is well-known and respected all over the world.
Norway is among the world’s top seafood exporters. Every single day, about 31 million Norwegian seafood meals are consumed in more than 140 foreign markets. The world is becoming hungrier for seafood. Our ambition is to ensure that consumers all over the world can enjoy and benefit from Norway’s sustainable marine resources.
As minister for trade and industry, market access for seafood is a top priority for us. Improved conditions for trade in seafood will provide the world with more healthy food. Norway’s work on market access is based on three main pillars: The World Trade Organization, the free-trade network EFTA and the European Union.
Even if seafood trade has gone global, our most important market is in our neighborhood.
Close to 60 percent of Norwegian seafood is exported to the EU.
Already we have acceptable market access for most seafood exported to the EU. Still, market access to EU can be improved. This will further develop the position of Norwegian seafood in Europe.
Around 97 percent of world trade is covered by the WTO-system, and we must work hard to ensure predictable and binding multilateral rules for trade.
Negotiations on a new WTO agreement, which has been deadlocked since 2008, finally got some momentum. This happened during the Ministerial Conference in Bali in December 2013. The ”Bali agreement” contains a number of items that were desired by many developing countries.
But it also contains a new agreement on trade facilitation, which can provide significant savings for businesses. It is expected that the Bali agreement will contribute to facilitate trade and movement of goods across national borders, as well as simplify customs procedures. This is positive for global seafood industry.
In the big picture, the consensus reached on Bali is in itself highlighted as the most promising result. Hopefully, the Bali agreement will contribute to resuming negotiations on the core areas of the Doha Round: market access in agriculture, industrial goods, fish and services, subsidies and the updating of WTO rules.
This is important in order to pave the way for a better multilateral trading regime also for seafood.
Free trade areas are an important supplement in order to promote increased trade. Through EFTA Norway has one of the world’s most extensive networks of free trade agreements. Norway has through EFTA signed 24 free trade agreements.
Currently, negotiations are on-going with several important trading partners. Norway gives priority to free trade agreements with emerging markets in Asia. These are also markets that are hungry for seafood.
Norway is not only an exporter of seafood. We also share our knowledge and experience, supporting the effort on sustainable management of marine resources globally.
Over time, our national policy has been adapted and improved based on new knowledge.
The government and scientists from Norway have been involved in development aid related to fisheries since the 1950s. As examples Norway has longstanding collaboration with Mozambique, Namibia and Vietnam.
I strongly believe that our involvement internationally will contribute to develop sustainable marine industries and improve food security in developing countries.So far, we have only used a relative small share of our marine resources for food production. I am therefore glad to see more and more advocates for the opportunities of the oceans. In this way seafood can play an important role in solving the challenge of food security.
Finally, I am sure the conference will provide fruitful discussions along these lines. I wish you all a pleasant stay in my favorite town Bergen.
Thank you for your attention!