Norway and Brazil have had a trade-related bilateral relationship since the trade in bacalhau and coffee was established around 180 years ago. Norway highly appreciates our longstanding and strong bilateral relationship. Brazil is very present in our domestic economy, through exports of raw materials and foodstuffs for our local production. And Brazil is a primary recipient of Norwegian investments, where the value of accumulated investments is US$ 32.5 billion. 71% of that is invested in the energy sector. Much of the investments are made by the major Norwegian companies, which all found their way to navigate, adapt, grow and prosper within the Brazilian framework of doing business.
The potential for further export of Norwegian seafood to Brazil is considerable, including the export of Norwegian salmon. We commend Brazil for its availability for technical discussions to make market access more predictable, based on international standards and guidelines. Through these bilateral discussions Norway and Brazil have already achieved several milestones to facilitate the trade between our two markets. However, there are still issues to be solved both for current trade and for potential new Norwegian species entering the Brazilian market.
Today stockfish and salted cod – “bacalhau” - represent about 97 per cent of our total seafood trade to Brazil. We thank Brazil for a fruitful technical meeting in Norway this summer. However, we struggle with the format of Brazilian data registration systems, as well as different methods of measuring the content of salt in stockfish and salted cod. We urge Brazilian authorities to show flexibility in this regard and look forward to further cooperation to find a solution. We also hope to engage in negotiations with Brazilian authorities to be able to export salmon to Brazil. This trade has so far not been possible.
The free trade agreement between EFTA and Mercosur will bring new opportunities for trade and economic cooperation between Brazil and Norway. These opportunities, with special attention on implementation of the Free Trade Agreement, will probably entail further dialogue with special attention on market access issues. Norway wants to conclude the discussions on the outstanding FTA issues as soon as possible.
Increased competition within a predictable regulatory framework will strengthen the competitiveness of companies, and the productivity in important Brazilian sectors, such as energy.
Predictability is also key for foreign investment stimulation. Norway sees huge opportunities for future investments in Brazil where predictable and clear conditions are in place.
The signing of the bilateral agreement for the elimination of double taxation with respect to taxes on income and the prevention of tax evasion and avoidance this month (Nov 4th) was an important milestone for the Norwegian business community in Brazil. Norway hopes the ratification process will be concluded soon.
Norway commends Brazil for its work on aligning itself with OECD’s standards and we support and look forward to working with you on Brazil’s accession to the OECD.
Brazil has an enormous potential for renewable energies, and Norway welcomes Brazil’s efforts in making renewable energy economically competitive. There are booms in various sectors, especially solar and wind. But the prolonged process of building a regulatory framework for new technologies is of concern.
We welcome an increased implementation of projects in sectors such as Offshore Wind and Hydrogen, where Brazil and Norway have mutual interest and Norway has relevant experience to share with Brazil. Such projects could become a prerequisite for future investments as well as a well-functioning supply chain prepared to execute future projects.
The Norwegian Government recently launched a new export strategy for a green transition, to strengthen value creation and cut emissions. There are areas of priority, such as hydrogen, offshore wind, carbon Capture and storage, batteries, and bioeconomy, where I believe our two countries could benefit from collaborating.
Norway welcomes the reported regulatory developments in the maritime transport sector in Brazil by the removal of cargo sharing agreements and government cargo restrictions as well as the reform of the domestic maritime transport regulations. This will contribute to free and fair competition, reduced freight costs and stimulate the use of maritime transport. We appreciate these developments, that could serve as inspiration and examples for others to follow suit – including the removal of remaining Brazilian restrictions related to maritime transport of oil and oil products.
Norway calls upon Brazil to look into the institutional strengthening of the Brazilian environmental licensing system, both when it comes to environmental impact assessment and protection of the environment, and in becoming more agile and predictable. In this way Brazil would not risk that environmental licencing could become a non-tariff barrier for future business and investments in Brazil.
Finally, a recurring complaint by companies in Brazil is the costly and burdensome administration of tax payments. We therefore ask for updates on plans to reform, simplify and unite these systems.
Norway wishes Brazil a successful Trade Policy Review.