Tale/innlegg | Dato: 21.03.2014
Innlegg ved næringsminister Monica Mæland, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 21.mars 2014
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Dear Vice Minister,
Ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you for the opportunity to address this conference and to Virke – the Enterprise Federation of Norway, for hosting the event.
I hope you all have had an interesting and productive day so far.
On my third day in Vietnam I must say that the country still impresses me, and Ho Chi Minh City in particular. This is truly a centre for business and commercial activity in Vietnam.
I wouldn’t mind starting a business in Vietnam myself.
The rapid development of the city demonstrates the importance of Vietnam as an emerging market.
The bilateral relations between Norway and Vietnam are strong and will continue to develop in the years to come;
Vietnam and Norway have gone from traditional development cooperation – to technical cooperation and institutional collaboration.
And in recent years we have seen many positive developments in our economic relationship:
- The trade between our countries has increased significantly the last decade.
- Vietnam is a promising market for Norwegian companies in a wide range of sectors.
- And now we are, together with the other EFTA states, engaged in negotiations with Vietnam on a modern and broad Free Trade Agreement.
Earlier today Vice Minister XX and myself attended a round-table discussion about the negotiations.
And the Norwegian Government places great importance in the ongoing negotiations which will be beneficial for all parties.
I am certain that the Free Trade Agreement will lead to more Norwegian companies investing in Vietnam.
The agreement will also bring about reduced taxes on trade in goods.
This will increase the exports from Vietnam to Norway in sectors that are important to Vietnam, such as textiles, garments and agricultural products.
As an open and export-oriented economy, Norway knows how important it is to facilitate trade and investments.
The topic discussed here today is important. On how trade and investments can foster innovation and green growth.
In order to grow and stay competitive, we need to innovate. But in the future this growth should be sustainable.
The need to protect the environment has been with us for a long time.
Also, its close relationship with industry and business is well known.
- On the one hand: Industry, and especially manufacturing, has been challenged as polluters.
- On the other hand: The business opportunities in green innovation have given rise to new industries, and changed existing industries.
In Norway we are unlocking the potential of new technologies such as offshore wind and solar power. In traditional industries, such as shipping, a greener approach has strengthened the competitive position of Norwegian companies.
This form of innovation promotes the environment – and they also help to modernize existing industries, and thereby promote growth.
That is why I believe increased economic activity between developed and emerging economies should take this into account.
And Norwegian companies should be in front, as good examples:
Not only do we want them to do their core business well, to be innovative, create jobs and have good profitability;
But we also expect that they protect the environment and are conscious of their impact on the climate.
In other words, we expect Norwegian companies that are doing business in Vietnam to live up to the same values and standards as they would in their home market.
I hope your discussions this morning have been fruitful, and wish you all an interesting afternoon.
I hope you will use this opportunity to make new connections and to nurture established contacts so that we will see even more sustainable and green cooperation between Norwegian and Vietnamese companies in the future.
Thank you for the attention.