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Chilean-Norwegian business seminar

Speech given by His Majesty The King at the opening of a Chilean-Norwegian business seminar in Santiago during Their Majesties' state visit to Chile 26-31 March 2019.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Queen and I are grateful for the warm welcome we have received here in Chile. We have been looking forward very much to visiting your beautiful country – renowned for its rich culture, excellent wines and dramatic nature.

We are also pleased to see representatives from so many companies and institutions gathered in one place. This is a reflection of our mutual interest in building partnerships for innovation and sustainability.

My father, the late King Olav V., visited Chile 52 years ago. Since then, both Chile and Norway have developed considerably – and so have our bilateral relations. This year, our two countries celebrate 100 years of diplomatic relations.

Norway and Chile may seem geographically far apart. Yet we have so much in common. Both our countries have benefited from the wealth of the sea. Mighty ocean currents connect us. They are vital for our marine resources, and in turn for the prosperity of our peoples.

Both our countries have been shaped by nature, but we are also increasingly shaping nature.

This entails a great responsibility – namely to ensure sustainable management of our resources.

So how can we use and – at the same time – conserve these resources? How can we ensure that the actions we take today also support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals – our common roadmap towards 2030?

I believe a good way to start is to strengthen cooperation across nations, across industries and between research and business. The aim of this state visit and today’s seminar is exactly to contribute to this.

New alliances and new partnerships are crucial for developing and sharing sustainable solutions. The key question is: What can Chile and Norway learn from each other, and how can we help each other to achieve our goals?

Soon, the first zero-emission vessels will be operating in the Norwegian Arctic – as ferries for tourists, and for use in the fisheries and aquaculture industry.

In Santiago, 100 electric buses are already on the streets – with another 100 soon to follow. Chile’s plans to phase out coal power plants and increase renewables in the energy mix is yet another sign of your commitment to the future.

The business community represented here today extends beyond the ocean sector – with companies engaged in a range of activities – from renewable energy and agriculture, to smart cities. It is clear that Chile is an attractive partner in innovation and market for Norwegian companies, and vice versa.

More than 60 Norwegian companies are already present in Chile. Chile is the second most important market for Norwegian companies in South America, after Brazil. Our sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund Global, has also a considerable portfolio in Chile.

This shows that Chile’s work to provide a predictable framework is enabling companies to compete on the global stage in an increasingly diversified manner.

With rising prosperity, the case for sustainability becomes harder to ignore. Some may still view increasing green requirements as a challenge. Norway and Chile should not.

Green requirements spur us to find innovative solutions, and give rise to exciting opportunities for creative and forward-looking men and women. I am confident that the transition to a green economy will give us better health, a cleaner environment and a stronger economy.

As well as opening up new business opportunities and creating new jobs.

In this way, we will hopefully leave a footprint not too visible for our children. As Chilean Nobel laureate Gabriela Mistral puts it: "Many of the things we need can wait. The children cannot".

Ladies and gentlemen,

Of all the resources our two nations have in common, however the most important is people – both women and men. We must give men and women the same opportunities. It is essential for a just society. It is also smart economics.

Throughout our histories, our economies have changed, and we have seen how people have adapted to changing circumstances.

With the decline of the oil industry, Norway has had to rethink and adjust our business sector. This is a challenge, but it has also fostered renewed optimism and a shift towards a greener business environment.

Technology that was originally developed for the oil industry is now being used in the production of wind energy and in fish farming. We have learned that people can adapt. And that we are capable of taking the lead in creating new technologies for the benefit of people in the future.

As we look ahead to the next 100 years of our bilateral relations, I hope that we will share ideas and solutions even more openly. We can achieve so much more when we act together.

I wish you an interesting and inspiring seminar!



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