Business cooperation in Rio
His Royal Highness The Crown Prince continued his visit to Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday. Rio is an economic powerhouse, and it is the city where a majority of the Norwegian companies established in Brazil have their headquarters.
Norwegian cod – in the form of klippfisk used in Brazilian bacalao – is Norway’s oldest export product to Brazil. Today petroleum and related industries have surpassed cod in importance, with over 9 000 local employees in Norwegian-owned companies. In addition, Norwegian companies are establishing themselves in new areas such as aluminium, agriculture and renewable energy.
Crown Prince Haakon’s programme in Rio today has focused on trade and business cooperation.
The Crown Prince began his day by opening a multiday seminar at which more than 500 representatives of Norwegian and Brazilian trade and industry will meet to discuss common interests and challenges, and establish ties for future cooperation.
“Today’s seminar is in many ways the centrepiece of our visit,” said the Crown Prince in his opening remarks. “It brings together people from the worlds of business, politics, academia and government. And it is an opportunity to share Brazilian and Norwegian perspectives and foster good ideas and fruitful partnerships for the future.”
The Crown Prince also mentioned Norway’s oldest trade relations with Brazil. For more than 170 years Norway has sold klippfisk (dried, salted cod) to Brazil and purchased coffee in return, and after opening the seminar Crown Prince Haakon left to aid in the task of promoting Norwegian seafood.
Bacalhau da Noruega
Cod for Brazilian bacalao has consistently comprised 20 per cent of Norway’s exports to Brazil. However, Brazilians are also feeling the modern-day time crunch, and many of them are seeking meals that take less time to prepare than the traditional fish stew. This is the reason that a number of new seafood products are now being introduced on the Brazilian market.
The winner of Brazil’s MasterChef, Izabel Alvarez, prepared the food for the day’s event, and Crown Prince Haakon had the opportunity to taste grilled bacalao prepared by the chef and hand out samples to the public and media.
Cooperation on research and education
Following an official luncheon hosted by the Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Mr Luiz Fernando Pezão, Crown Prince Haakon continued on to CENPES to learn more about Norwegian-Brazilian cooperation on research and education.
CENPES is among the world’s largest research and development centres dedicated to energy research. The roughly 2 000 researchers here are working on more than 860 different projects. Both Norwegian and Brazilian students have the chance to work alongside the scientists on several of the projects.
At CENPES, Crown Prince Haakon met the robot DORIS, which is funded by Norway’s Statoil and Brazil’s Petrobras. DORIS can detect gas leaks, fires, malfunctioning equipment, etc., and may become the first robot of this type to be used on offshore oil platforms.
Maritime cluster with corporate social responsibility
The Norwegian maritime industry is active in Brazil, especially in Rio de Janeiro. A new DNV GL-certified vessel with a wide array of Norwegian equipment on board is under construction in the Vard shipyard, and the Crown Prince was given a presentation on the maritime cluster in Brazil.
Corporate social responsibility has become increasingly important for many companies within the local community, and Crown Prince Haakon listened to presentations of several such projects supported by the Norwegian maritime cluster.
Brazilians are known for their skill in and love of football. Karanba is a social project in São Gonçalo which uses football to create opportunities for children and adolescents from poor areas. The aim is not primarily to cultivate professional footballers, but rather to offer a positive alternative focusing on good attitudes, hope and optimism. Karanba organises activities for about 700 boys and girls, and requires all the participants to attend school.
Another example is the organisation Dream Learn Work, founded by Norwegian companies in Rio. The organisation offers young people from less developed areas the chance for a better future through education and training while meeting companies’ recruitment needs for qualified personnel. The Crown Prince met with five students who received training at the Vard shipyard, and he presented the students with their diplomas in a brief graduation ceremony.
Opening of Jotun
Jotun is among the world’s largest paint and coatings manufacturers. The company is headquartered in Sandefjord, but sells its products in more than 90 countries and has almost 10 000 employees around the world. This summer Jotun opened a new factory in Itaboraí outside of Rio de Janeiro.
The new factory mainly produces paint and coatings for the maritime sector, and has a capacity of 10 million litres per year. Crown Prince Haakon participated in the official opening by pushing a colour-mixing button together with Jotun’s owner, Mr Odd Gleditsch.
In the evening, the Crown Prince will attend a reception at the Hotel Copacabana Palace hosted by the Norwegian Ambassador to Brazil, Aud Marit Wiig. On Wednesday, the Crown Prince will travel to Belem, where biodiversity and climate change will be on the agenda.