Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon began his four-day visit to Brazil on Monday morning, accompanied by a large delegation of Norwegian ministers and businessmen. The group were traveling to Brasilia, the country’s capital.
In the absence of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, attending the G-20 Summit in Turkey, vice president Michel Temer welcomed the Norwegian delegation, marking the Prince’s second visit to the country.
“This visit confirms the solid nature of our bilateral relations and demonstrates the breadth and depth of the partnership between our countries. This partnership is proven to be increasingly dynamic, diverse and mutually relevant,” Temer said in a toast on Monday.
The Prince opened a roundtable conference in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday with more than 500 Brazilian and Norwegian participants, representing sectors such as oil and energy, climate and environment, and research and education.
In his opening speech, Prince Haakon dubbed Brazil as Norway’s “most important business partner in South America.” According to Temer, trade between the two countries grew by more than 145 percent from 2005 to 2014. From $740 million in 2005, the trade value between the two countries jumped to $1.8 billion in 2014.
“Norway will continue to take a long-term approach to our investments in Brazil. The presence here today of more than 500 participants is a testimony to that,” Prince Haakon said.
There are more than 150 Norwegian companies in Brazil, most of them in the oil, gas, and aluminum sectors. During the last decade, Norwegian investments in Brazil jumped from $380 million to more than $3.7 billion.
“We have definitely expanded into other sectors as well and made substantial investments in a number of them, most notably in oil and gas. Brazil is the third largest market for our oil supply and service industry. Norwegian companies have a significant presence in a variety of other sectors – from renewable energy and fertilizers to paint and aluminum,” Prince Haakon added.
Temer, on the other hand, emphasized the significant contribution of Norwegian investments in the country. With the two countries’ healthy and prosperous political relationship, Temer aims this time to expand their economic relationship, in the form of the Prince’s company consisting of Norwegian entrepreneurs who are willing to invest in Brazil.
“Out of the 150 Norwegian companies that are already in the country, our desire is that in a short time another 50, 60, 70 companies can also be installed in our country. It is our hope that your visit will boost the Norwegian investments in our country,” Temer said.
The environment and energy sector
Norway is the biggest contributor to the Amazon Fund headed by the Brazilian Development Bank. It has contributed $882 million in the past four years. Brazil houses 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, and the Amazon Fund finances projects that preserve and protect it and other Brazilian biomes from deforestation. Amazon deforestation decreased by 82 percent in the last decade.
“Among our common interests, I would like to highlight our partnership to protect the Amazon rainforest, which is vital in the struggle against climate change. The Norwegian commitment to the Amazon Fund is as strong as ever, and, by the end of this year, we will have contributed one billion U.S. dollars to the Fund for the impressive reductions in deforestation achieved in Brazil,” said Prince Haakon.
The two countries’ common denominators were also discussed. Brazil and Norway both have vast oil and gas resources, and are leading hydropower producers in the world.
“We are both seeking to use and manage our rich natural resources in a responsible and effective way. We are both striving to develop our energy resources to meet the future demand for energy.”
Prince Haakon also met with Brazilian students who participated in the Science Without Borders program, a student exchange program allowing 360 Brazilian students to study in Norway for a year.
Temer and the prince also expressed their condolences for victims of the bombings in Paris. Temer said that Brazil condemns the terror attacks and that the National Congress is reviewing the anti-terrorism bill. The bill will provide stiffer penalties against criminal organizations and will grant federal courts the power to try crimes related to terrorism. The lower house is scheduled to vote on it this week.
Prince Haakon will travel to Belem on Wednesday and stay there for the rest of the visit where he will close a seminar on climate change and biodiversity. He will also witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Pará and the Research Council of Norway that will promote academic collaboration and exchange between the two. The Prince is also scheduled to visit several facilities that oversee the operations on the preservation of the Amazon rainforest.
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