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Official visit to Mexico: Opening of business seminar

Speech given by Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess at the opening of a business seminar in Veracruz, 19 March 2009.

Senoras y Senores,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Being here in Veracruz is significant in a number of ways – and underlines some of the many links between our countries. Mexico and Norway both have longstanding maritime traditions. For coastal nations like ours, the sea has always been a decisive factor for our survival. It has brought us food and prosperity thanks to commerce and trade.

Veracruz is the gateway into Mexico for Norwegians. A large number of Norwegian vessels regularly call on this most important port. For the crew members of these vessels, Veracruz has become the Mexico that they have learnt to know – and to appreciate. Also, it was within the maritime sector that extensive bilateral business relations first were developed.

Today, the Crown Prince is visiting a floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) in the Gulf of Mexico. This cooperation between the Norwegian company Bergesen Offshore and PEMEX is the biggest bilateral commercial project in the energy sector and symbolizes the huge potential for further cooperation in the petroleum sector. For instance, both countries face technology and development challenges at deep sea. As major oil producing countries we also have common obligations. One of the most important is to ensure sustainability in the petroleum sector.

The petroleum sector is vital in both our economies and a focus area for this visit, both in Mexico City and here in Veracruz. I hope that this seminar will provide opportunities to focus on areas where our two countries have complementary technologies and knowledge. Mexico is one of the largest producers of oil and gas in the world with huge unexplored potential deepwater resources. At the Norwegian continental shelf the recovery rate has increased from 17 per cent in the early 70’ies, to a recovery rate of 46 per cent today. The Norwegian technological solutions for development of deepwater discoveries will be presented here today. I hope this topic and other petroleum related issues will open for more bilateral cooperation, between Norway and Mexico – and with Veracruz.

The overall business programme shows that there are more building blocks we can use to further strengthen our relations. In Mexico City two days ago one of many seminars focused on increased trade in general between our two countries under the heading “Market Access through strong brands and Sociologial trends in the Nordic Market”.

As a follow-up I am therefore pleased to note that one parallel session following this plenary will examine closer the potential for cooperation within the coffee sector; a sector particularly relevant for Veracruz. The programme will cover the Norwegian and Mexican coffee market, social trends and try to answer the tricky question: What makes a coffee brand a success. Norwegians are the world’s second largest consumers of coffee per capita (after the Finish people).

The attendance here this morning shows great promise for new and strengthened relations between Mexico and Norway.

Along with the seminars in Mexico City earlier this week, I believe this to be an excellent opportunity to take our cooperation further.

I wish you an inspiring seminar.

Thank you.


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