Over 70 people attended the business forum at Telenor Fornebu on Friday, November 30. Sectors like energy, fish and seafood, shipbuilding, IT and tourism were highlighted during the meeting as interesting areas for enhanced cooperation.
– Ukraine’s certainly an interesting country for Norwegian industry and we hope that the new free trade agreement between Ukraine and EFTA countries can contribute to more diverse trade and better conditions for trade and investment in Ukraine. We are already seeing a positive trend in trade between Norway and Ukraine so far this year, says Norwegian Trade and Industry Minister Trond Giske.
Minister Giske also had a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Economy and Commissioner for European Integration Valery Pjatnitskij. During the meeting, a series of topics including implementation of the EFTA free trade agreement and the potential for Norwegian-Ukrainian business cooperation were discussed.
– Our challenge now is to combat the difficult business environment in Ukraine. Deputy Minister Pjatnitskij assured me that the Ukrainian authorities are carefully monitoring this issue and working to ensure that the obligations under the agreement are implemented at all levels, said Giske.
Constructive talks with Ukraine
While the industry player of both countries were discussing the economic opportunities at Fornebu, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg held political talks. After the meeting, Stoltenberg said that Azarov’s visit has been a good opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue on developments in Ukraine.
During the visit, Norwegian Prime Minister also expressed his concerns about the Tymoshenko case and the way the parliamentary election was carried out in October.
– Ukraine will shortly take over the chairmanship of the OSCE, and has chosen a course of closer cooperation with Europe. We therefore believe Ukraine to carry out democratic and structural reforms in order to comply with European standards,” said Stoltenberg.
During Azarov’s visit, Norway and Ukraine signed an agreement on nuclear safety cooperation. This includes measures to protect the environment and personnel in connection with the decommissioning of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
The framework for export of Norwegian fish was another bilateral trade issue discussed during the visit.
– We hope that EFTA’s free trade agreement with Ukraine will lead to more varied trade and better framework conditions for investments in Ukraine. Ukraine is already an important partner for Norwegian businesses, and we hope that these ties can be further strengthened,” said Stoltenberg.
Facts about Cooperation between Norway and Ukraine
Free Trade Agreement between the EFTA States and Ukraine and the agreement on trade in agricultural products between Norway and Ukraine came into force on 1 June 2012. The agreement paves the way for increased trade and economic activity.
Trade between Norway and Ukraine are limited, but the potential is clearly present. In 2011, exports amounted to NOK 1.4 billion NOK, representing an increase of 15.83 percent from 2010. Seafood represents over 80 percent of exports to Ukraine.
A Norwegian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce (Oslo) was established in 2008. The Chamber of Commerce organizes networking meetings and brings together Norwegian and Ukrainian businesses. On the occasion of Prime Minister Azarov’s visit to Norway, the Chamber organized a lunch about possible energy cooperation between Norway and Ukraine and the business seminar, Prime Minister Azarov attended both events.