Official visit to Vietnam: Business luncheon in Hanoi
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Crown Prince and I have looked forward to visiting Vietnam. The King and Queen still have fond memories of their state visit to this beautiful country ten years ago. Our visit – starting here in Hanoi, continuing to Hue and ending in Ho Chi Minh City – will be a journey through Vietnam’s history, culture and impressive economic development. Like the King and Queen, my husband and I greatly enjoyed our visit to the Temple of Literature this morning. This is an extraordinary example of Vietnam’s emphasis on education dating back over a thousand years.
Universities are hotbeds of knowledge. Education and knowledge provide the foundation for innovation, trade and economic growth. Economies that prosper are those that are willing and able to adapt to new technologies. Value creation is important for the individual businesses concerned as well as for society as a whole. Governments seek to promote welfare, but they cannot do so without the business sector – which helps to create the foundation for our welfare.
In Norway, we have always looked abroad for inspiration, trade and collaboration. We are aware of the importance of Vietnam as a rapidly developing economic and commercial player. I am sure that Vietnamese and Norwegian businesses can learn a great deal from each other, and benefit from close cooperation, trade and long-term investments. This is why Norway attaches great importance to the establishment of a free trade agreement between the EFTA states and Vietnam.
Over the last few years we have seen a substantial increase in our bilateral trade. But we believe the potential is far greater. That’s why we are gathered here at this luncheon today. This morning’s seminars gave a glimpse of the potential within three concrete areas: hydropower, maritime industry and offshore industries. And, as was illustrated by today’s discussions on green growth through innovation in ICT, there need not be a conflict between growth and sustainable development.
On Friday, more seminars will be held in Ho Chi Minh City, this time focusing on cooperation in the marine sector. In conclusion: Our two countries share a common interest within a wide range of bilateral and global issues. I therefore look forward to seeing our countries develop even closer cooperation in the years to come.