Opening statement: Norway- Singapore Business Forum

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Your Majesty,

Your Excellency,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, let me express my thanks to the Norwegian

Shipowners' Association for inviting me here today, and for the opportunity to open this business forum along with Chief Executive Ho of the Singapore Business Federation.

And thank you all for joining us today as we greet our honoured guests from Singapore.

Singapore and Norway are close partners, in large part due to our close and strong economic ties.

In April this year Prime minister Solberg paid an official visit to Singapore. I also had the great pleasure of visiting Singapore in March to mark the anniversary of ReCAAP. This week we are honoured to host the first State Visit by a Singaporean President to Norway. And, later this month we receive Trade Minister Lim of Singapore.

All in all, 2016 has been an active year in our bilateral relations. 

Today's agenda is a good reflection of our business relations: The focus is on the strong and well established maritime and oil and gas industries. At the same time we are looking to new and emerging sectors.

The presence of more than 250 Norwegian companies in Singapore is a testimony to its business-friendly environment. In fact, no other country in Asia has a higher number of Norwegian companies.

Most of these operate within the maritime and offshore sectors – companies like Wilhelmsen, Kongsberg Maritime and DNV GL.

Yet, the number of companies in other sectors is increasing, including ICT, telecom and digital services, which is a most welcome development.                              

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The maritime industry is among Norway's most global, innovative and forward-looking industries.

This is especially evident today, when the industry is challenged by difficult market conditions, especially in the offshore segment.

To make this easier The Norwegian Government is stimulating increased cooperation within the ocean industries.

We have good examples of how knowhow and technology from the oil industry is being transferred to other industries, such as renewable energy and fish farming.

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Research and education are crucial to develop this kind of knowhow and world leading technology, andplay an important part in our relationship – and in this visit.

A comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on maritime research and development between the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Research Council of Norway has been in place since year 2000.

And tomorrow we will witness the signature of 10 new research agreements between our two countries. 

Today, rapid technological shifts like, automatization and digitalisation have become increasingly important to industrial manufacturing. I am convinced that this will also become an important area for cooperation between our two countries in the future.  

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Dear friends,

Business-to-business ties between Norway and Singapore are strong. They will be further strengthened by the new Norway Singapore Chamber of Commerce.   

Today’s business environment is marked by challenging markets and rapid technological shifts. Norway and Singapore has to remain competitive by combining our strengths. That is why we today are entering into an enhanced maritime partnership. 

Thank you for your attention!