Opening of Turkish-Norwegian Partnership Forum

Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland 7. November 2013

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Your Majesties,

Honourable Ministers,

Your Excellencies,

ladies and gentlemen,

Günaydın – good morning!

It is an honour and a great pleasure to be here at the opening of this Turkish-Norwegian partnership forum.

I would like to start by thanking His Majesty King Harald and Her Majesty Queen Sonja, and Deputy Prime Minister Babacan for lifting this important event to the highest level.

But I would also like to thank you – all the participating companies and organizations that are here today.

Your efforts and participation lies at the heart of bringing Norway and Turkey closer – to strengthen our bonds as societies, and as partners in trade. 

 

As His Majesty King Harald pointed out, Turkey and Norway already enjoy a strong and longstanding relationship.

Investments and trade in both goods and services have increased these last years. But as his Majesty said, there are more win-win effects to be found if we collaborate even more! 

Turkey´s size, productivity level, low costs and young population make it a particularly attractive place for Norwegian businesses. 

Norwegian businesses can also offer their valuable experience and expertise to Turkey.

  • Our Norwegian rugged and varied topography has made it necessary to develop skills in underground works, especially for hydropower tunnelling.
  • Our long coastline, strong coastal culture and offshore activities have given us a highly specialized maritime industry.
  • High mountains and lots of of rain have been natural advantages in the production of hydropower. The state-owned hydropower company Statkraft has already made substantial investments in the Turkish electricity market - the fastest growing in Europe.
  • Cold, clear waters and fjords have given us perfect opportunities for seafood production.
  • And even if we don´t have as many examples of great historical architecture as we see here in Istanbul:

Over the last decades Norwegian architecture – its sustainability, simplicity and use of light - have become more and more internationally recognized.

One example is the architecture firm Nordic, which now is chosen to design what will be the world´s largest airport here in Istanbul!

I am happy to establish that in all of these sectors Turkey and Norway already enjoy good relationships.

And the fact that so many Norwegian businesses have found their way to Istanbul this morning, is testimony to a strong Norwegian belief in Turkey´s further potential as a trading partner.

We have in place a solid framework for our mutual trade through the free trade agreement between EFTA and Turkey.

Together with my EFTA colleagues, I am also very pleased that we have agreed to start negotiations on services.

This shows a great will to release the potential for strengthening and deepening Turkish-Norwegian trading relations.

Now, our objectives for today’s business seminars are twofold:

  • One objective is to strengthen business relations in areas where we are already cooperating.
  • The other is to establish new partnerships in more unexplored areas.

In all of the areas covered by the seminars – there is great potential for increased cooperation. 

 

Turkey is made up of diverse regions, languages and peoples from different ethnic groups. Yet tradition for openness and coexistence is one of Turkey´s defining and inspiring characteristics.

Turkey and its culture form a bridge between east and west.

And these days Norwegian businesses are provided with a wonderful opportunity to share this openness and engage with Turkish businesses – and to form new partnerships in one of the most promising markets in Europe.

My hope is that we will see further investments and increased trade, within all of the areas covered by the seminars – and more – in the next few years.

And when I look at all of you who are gathered here – representatives for so many different Turkish and Norwegian businesses and organizations – I feel confident that we build upon a solid foundation for making this happen.

I wish you all successful seminars. Thank you for your attention.

Teşekkür ederim.