Norwegian-Malay business dinner

Innlegg ved Næringsminister Monica Mæland, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 17.mars 2014

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Ambassador!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Dear friends!

 

Good evening! Selamat petang!

First of all, thank you Mr. Ambassador Urstad for welcoming us this evening.

I am very happy to be here, on my very first visit to Malaysia.

 

Malaysia today is the third largest economy in the region and I am pleased to see the strong business relations between our countries.

Earlier today I met with some of the Norwegian companies that are established here in Malaysia – and I am impressed to learn about what they have achieved, through hard work and long-term commitments.

Today more than 50 Norwegian companies have offices or production facilities here in Malaysia. And hopefully many more will come.

Just over a week ago, the Norwegian company Stadt, a maritime supply company, signed a contract with Nam Cheong Group to supply propulsion solutions for 16 of their new vessels.

That is just one of many proofs of the good business relations between our two countries. I could mention many more, for instance from Aker, DNV GL, and Jotun.

 

In the recent years we have seen that the foundation for Norwegian-Malaysian relations have broadened.

  • In telecommunications, Telenor has made the largest Norwegian investment in Malaysia through their 49 percent ownership of DiGi, the third largest mobile operator in Malaysia. I hope to contribute to Telenor’s position in Malaysia by vending DiGi SIM-cards tomorrow.
  • The Norwegian shipping company Wilh. Wilhelmsen has a large presence in Malaysia within ship management, operations and services.  And Wilhelmsen Ship Management has their global headquarters located here in Kuala Lumpur.
  • There is also great potential for increased cooperation in the defence industry.
  • And, not to forget, Malaysia is an attractive market for Norwegian seafood exporters and exporters of technology for the marine sector.

I will be able to try my skills from the Bergen Fish Market tomorrow, promoting Norwegian salmon at at the Aeon Mall.

 

Norwegian companies are present in Malaysia because they are able to get valuable contacts with Malaysian partners. They exchange knowledge and ideas. They take advantage of distinctive qualities – for mutual benefit.

Malaysia has a strategic location close to important markets – but it is also ranked in 6th place in the World Bank report on Ease of doing business. Norway is ranked in 9th place.

These rankings should be in favour of increasing Norwegian and Malaysian business cooperation even further. And our starting point is a good one – trade between our countries has been growing at a steady pace.

And, we wish to see increased cooperation through trade and business activity in the next years.

This was the main topic in my meeting with Minister of International Trade and Industry, His Excellency Dato Sri Mustapa Mohammedearlier today.

I had the pleasure to talk about the upcoming Free Trade Agreement between EFTA and Malaysia, where we start to negotiate next week.

We have also discussed the potential for an increased defence cooperation, through the possible Kongsberg delivery.

 

During this first day in Kuala Lumpur I have also experienced the warm Malaysian hospitality and culture, and I wish I had much more time to discover your beautiful country. But, this is unfortunately not a pleasure visit.

My most important task as Minister of Trade and Industry is to make it possible for our companies to prepare for the future – and the key to success is to grow internationally. That is why I am here and that is why Norwegian companies need to position themselves in markets such as Malaysia.

Let me also add that the whole region of Southeast-Asia is important to Norway. Norway is seeking to develop political and economical relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian NationsASEAN.

  • Trade with ASEAN has grown more than 50 percent the last decade.
  • And the highest concentration of Norwegian companies abroad is in the ASEAN-region.

To strengthen the ties between ASEAN and EFTA Malaysia is a key partner.

 

Dear friends,

A Malay proverb, which I do not dare to quote in the local tongue, teaches us that, “a rope of three strands is not easily parted”.

This proverb is an excellent metaphor for how Norway and Malaysia is intertwined with the third rope, which is the strong and growing relations between our business communities.

Norway and Malaysia have an excellent relationship, and as we continue to work in this manner together, I see a strong partnership in the future.

With that in mind, let me wish you a pleasant evening together.

Thank you for the warm welcome and thank you for your attention!

Terima kasih!
[Malaysisk for takk].