Norway is rich in natural resources. From the sea, we benefit from fish, oil and gas. Onshore, the rivers provide us with hydropower. These resources have helped to transform the Norwegian economy into a very modern high-tech and prosperous economy that the egalitarian Norwegian society has used to promote financial stability and social well-being. Within this highly competitive economy, the state still has significant influence in strategic sectors. It is also the world’s most inclusive economy, according to the World Economic Forum.
A key part of economic strategy and management of our wealth is to help secure future generations. In 1990, it was decided to establish a sovereign wealth fund, which now is the largest such fund in the world with a total value of almost 900 billion euros. This fund invests the rent from the oil and gas sector outside of Norway in accordance with specific guidelines and ethical rules. It has investments in 9.000 companies in 72 countries. In Romania, most equity investments are in energy and financial companies.
The Norwegian economy is currently going through a major transition to transform again the oceans as our main economic engine. We now see that oil and gas, fish and seafood, and the maritime industry are merging. We speak of one ocean industry where synergies between the many ocean industries are renewed as our new competitive edge.
For Norway and Norwegians, the oceans are both a way of life and a way of making a living. Our history is strongly linked to the oceans, and in the present 70% of Norwegian exports come from the oceans. Norway is the second largest exporter of seafood in the world. We export to 140 countries to a value of 10 billion euros (2017) and the demand for seafood is constantly increasing. Our salmon is well known, and the king crab, cod, shrimp and so on. Seafood is also the main export article to Romania. Norway’s future prosperity and stability will also depend on the ability to manage the oceans in a sustainable way. The future is blue and the path to that future is green.
The Norwegian ocean industry is also present in Romania. The company VARD is one of the world leaders in specialized shipbuilding. In Braila and Tulcea, they provide ships and ship hulls to the green shipping industry.
The transition to a diverse and more green and blue economy gives rise to new opportunities for business. The economic exchanges between Norway and Romania fluctuate with the times and preconditions, but overall they clearly indicate that the mutual economic interest and potential is on the rise. Today, Romania has a trade surplus with Norway of almost 500 billion EUR, mainly from the Romanian exports of naval transport equipment to Norway.
Moreover, the cooperation projects developed by Norwegian and Romanian companies, with or without the EEA/ Norway Grants, have never been stronger. Investments are on the increase in several sectors. The Norwegian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce (www.norocc.no) is a catalyst for business relations between our countries. NOROCC is a young body, but with a healthy mix of Norwegian and Romanian companies, NGOs and public institutions active in a wide range of sectors. They have a new and dynamic team, ready to help establish new connections among interested actors.
Photo: Jan Helge Fosså / Havforskningsinstituttet