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Official visit to Mexico: Opening of business seminar

Speech given by His Royal Highness The Crown Prince at the opening of a buisiness seminar in Mexico City, 17 March 2009.

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Bilateral relations between the United Mexican States and the Kingdom of Norway have been growing closer ever since diplomatic ties were established in 1906. Today, these relations encompass a large number of areas, including trade, tourism and especially the petroleum sector.

This business event is a key element of our visit to this beautiful country. It is a clear objective that the visit should lead to increased commercial cooperation between Mexico and Norway. I have already had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the Mexican-Norwegian business community this morning, and have been assured of the interest on both sides.

The petroleum industry has traditionally been the most important pillar in our bilateral relation. There is excellent cooperation between our governments and between Pemex and StatoilHydro as well as within the oil and gas supply and service industry.

Economic cooperation between Mexico and Norway is increasing. However, there is still a significant potential for further expansion in several areas, Mexico being one of the fifteen largest economies in the world. The Mexican market is attractive to Norwegian companies within trade and industry. I have learned that the recent energy reform will make even more mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy field possible.

I hope this seminar will contribute to finding areas in which we have complementary technologies and knowledge. As an example of industrial cooperation I would like to mention the technology for enhanced oil recovery. The recovery rate on the Norwegian continental shelf is very high. When Ekofisk – the first Norwegian oil field- was put into production in 1971, the recovery rate was estimated to be 17 per cent. Due to technological developments and international and industrial innovation, the recovery rate today is expected to be 46 per cent.

This would not have been possible without joint efforts among oil companies, service providers and research institutions. Furthermore, it demonstrates the importance of industrial cooperation in areas such as research and development and the development of a strong national competence base. I hope that today’s seminars will inspire cooperation between Mexican and Norwegian counterparts and that bilateral cooperation in the offshore sector will be thriving.

Doing business at home and abroad presents both opportunities and responsibilities. I welcome the rapidly growing interest in corporate social responsibility in both the Mexican and the Norwegian business communities. Especially within the petroleum business, achieving sustainable development is not only the responsibility and task of governments alone. I am impressed by Mexico’s ambitious plans to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Mexico is an active and constructive party putting forward important proposals in the international climate change negotiations. I am sure Mexico will play an important role in the establishment of a post 2012-regime at the Copenhagen climate change negotiation later this year.

I am pleased to note that the parallel sessions following this plenary will cover corporate social responsibility and social dialogue, as well as a wide range of sectors, including tourism, petroleum and trade in services. These are all sectors of importance and great potential in the bilateral economic relations between our two countries.

This is duly recognised by the strong attendance from the Norwegian side today with more than 50 companies present. I wish you successful and inspiring seminars here at Club de Industriales.

Thank you.


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