Tale/innlegg | Dato: 07.11.2013 | Nærings- og fiskeridepartementet
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Ladies and Gentlemen,
Günaydın – good morning!
It is an honour and a great pleasure to be here at this opening of the maritime seminar at the Turkish-Norwegian partnership forum.
I would like to start by extending my gratitude to our hosts and organizers:
Innovation Norway, the Norwegian Embassy, and Norwegian Maritime Exporters.
But let me also thank all participating companies and organizations present here at the maritime part of today’s seminars.
Norway is a maritime nation and maritime issues are of key importance to us.
Thanks to our long coastline and maritime history,
this is an area where we have world-class expertise and knowledge.
The maritime industry contributes considerably to the Norwegian economy and level of employment.
Today, the Norwegian maritime industries consist of a wide range of industrial branches that benefit from their activities on, in or by the sea.
These industries include shipping, shipyards, equipment and service suppliers. One example of an important global Norwegian maritime player is DNV,
represented here today by CEO Henrik Madsen.
At the opening His Majesty King Harald mentioned the long history of maritime connections between Norway and Turkey.
Vikings sailed the Dnepr to get to the Black Sea and reach Constantinople – or Miklagard – where they traded in silk and other exotic goods.
Norwegian ships still call on Turkish harbours, and made 536 port calls in Turkey in 2012.
Nowadays, the maritime sector is one of the most developed in Turkish-Norwegian economic cooperation.
Turkey has become a key market for the Norwegian maritime industry.
Norwegian companies within fishery and offshore are building more and more ships at Turkish yards – many of them within short distance of Istanbul.
Strong growth and modernization in Turkish shipbuilding industry provides good opportunities for cooperation for Norwegian producers of maritime equipment.
But while Turkish-Norwegian cooperation is increasing at a very promising rate, I think even more can be done.
As I have mentioned, the history of trade between Turks and Norwegians extend back to the early medieval age.
But we have a long history of trade in modern terms, too:
The free trade agreement between EFTA and Turkey is EFTAs oldest free trade agreement (1991).
While bilateral trade in goods between us is still modest,
it is increasing at a rapid rate:
It has more than doubled over the last 10 years.
More and more Norwegian companies are interested in doing business in Turkey. This is particularly the case for the maritime sector.
Our existing free trade agreement provides a solid framework for our mutual trade.
However, being an early agreement, the scope of the agreement is limited to trade in goods.
Trade in services, including maritime transport services and various port services, has become increasingly important the last decades.
Together with my colleagues in EFTA, I am very pleased that we have agreed to start negotiations on services.
This will provide both Turkish and Norwegian businesses with a predictable framework and increased market opportunities.
I am happy that so many Norwegian maritime businesses have found their way to Istanbul this morning.
On Tuesday many of you visited the Tuzla and Yalova shipbuilding zones – where several vessels for Norwegian ship owners have been built.
Yesterday I heard you had a very constructive experience sharing seminar.
The aim of today’s seminar is to share ideas of how Turkey and Norway can work together in creating and maintaining an even stronger global competitiveness in the Maritime industry.
I encourage you to exploit this opportunity to strengthen Turkish-Norwegian bonds and partnerships.
I hope to see further investments and increased Turkish-Norwegian trade in the maritime sector in the years to come.
I wish you all a successful maritime seminar.
Thank you for your attention.