New Possibilities Ahead.
Your Excellency President of the Republic of Poland Mr: Andrzej Duda
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be with you here today at this Polish – Norwegian Business Seminar, so appropriately headlined: New Possibilities Ahead!
As you may know, the Norwegian economy has traditionally been based on exploitation of natural resources, but also knowledge.
Once fish was our main export. Later we developed a strong maritime industry. When we found petroleum and gas in the bottom of the ocean, we used knowledge and technology from the maritime sector to develop the petroleum industry.
In some aspects we were lucky. But we never stopped looking for new possibilities.
Today however, the Norwegian economy is facing new challenges.
We are about to leave behind us 15 golden years of growth fueled by the oil and gas industry. Driven by falling oil prices, Norway is now headed for a period of restructuring.
But with restructuring comes possibilities for new business partnerships. This is something I want you to keep in mind during today's seminar.
Poland is a large and important country in the European Union. And an important partner for Norway.
Trade in goods between our two countries has tripled over the last 10 years. Poland is now in the top 10 of Norway’s most important trading partners.
Also, investments between our countrieshave grown considerably. Today, there are more than 300 Norwegian companies in Poland, in different sectors.
Poland is by far Norway's most important export market for seafood. Furthermore, Norway is the largest importer of Polish maritime exports and largest supplier to Poland's maritime industry.
In the defence industry Kongberg, Nammo and other companies look to Poland for more cooperation. Polish companies are becoming visible investors on our continental shelf. But the energy sector as a whole still has much potential for business partnerships.
In addition, the EEA and Norway Grants have contributed to facilitate investment activities in the fields of innovation and product development. The Grants will give an important contribution also in the upcoming period
While trade and investment is flourishing, we need to keep working to diversify and expand our economic ties, and enablejob creation in the private sector.
Today's challenging situation provides a unique opportunity to explore new and alternative ways to create growth and jobs in our ocean industries.
Knowledge sharing and learning is key - both nationally and across borders.
One example is the goal to increase aquaculture production.
This calls for increased European cooperation across different sectors, such as marine and maritime, agriculture and health. Offshore aquaculture is also emerging.
In this respect, my government is working on a white paper on Norwegian industry, which will be presented next year. The paper will seek to identify how Norwegian industry is equipped to handle new trends of industrial development, and which challenges we can expect.
More importantly though, in January this year, the Norwegian government launched the first ever Poland-strategy.
With this strategy we want to emphasize the importance Poland has for Norway, and also our determination to expand and deepen our bilateral relations. We also want to increase knowledge about the bonds between our two countries.
Today's seminar gives us a unique opportunity to meet and exchange ideas on how to further develop our economic relationship.
Hopefully, today's seminar will also open the way for new connections and partnerships in the years ahead.
Thank you for your attention!