Norway - Philippine Relations

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The Philippines and Norway have a long history of bilateral relations, owing traditionaly to cooperation in the maritime sector. Today, relations between our two countries have expanded to encompass not only the shipping industry, but also other business sectors, labour migration, and peace and reconciliation efforts.

There are approximately 18 000 Filipinos living in Norway. They are a very well-integrated minority group in the Norwegian society with a high level of participation in the work force. There is also a variety of active NGOs and interest groups working to promote Filipino culture in Norway. Every year the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day takes place in many communities around the country.

A substantial number of Norwegians are living in the Philippines. Some do business, some do charitable work, whilst others have established families – or come to spend their retirement under the sun.

Economic Relations and Trade

Economic relations between our two countries comprise shipping, investments in industry, investments from the Norwegian government pension fund, and services, goods and commodities trade.

Business Environment And Trade Overview

The Philippines Norway Business Council (PNBC) unites the Norwegian business community in the Philippines and currently has around 50 member companies and institutions. The Norwegian Embassy is a founding member and is permanently an observer in the board of the council.

A lot of the business is still shipping related, but other sectors follow suit. There is also trade with services, goods and commodities. Chemical products are the main export commodity from Norway to the Philippines, followed by fish. Conversely, electronics, machinery, transport equipment and miscellaneous manufactured articles account for about two thirds of the imports to Norway from the Philippines.

Norwegian companies are showing an increased interest in the Philippines. Notably, investments in industrial enterprises have grown in recent years and have shown good profit margins. The energy sector shows promise, with the Philippines having significant potential in the development of hydropower plant and possibly large amounts of untapped natural gas and oil resources. Norway as an energy nation has decades of competence and experience in utilizing and managing such resources.

Shipping

Norwegian shipping companies employ about 25 000 Filipino seafarers aboard their ships or in shipyards, accounting for one third of the total number of seafarers on Norwegian controlled vessels. The Norwegian Training Center in Manila provides relevant training for Filipino seafarers serving on Norwegian ships. Maritime cooperation has remained one of the key elements of our bilateral relations. The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA/Sjøfartsdirektoratet) is currently assisting the Philippine Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) in an attempt to ensure that maritime/seafarer education is in compliance with the STCW Convention. A number of Norwegian shipping companies have offices in the Philippines.

Norwegian Government Pension Fund Investments

The Norwegian Government Pension Fund – Global (SPU) holds shares in several Philippine companies. The SPU is one of the largest funds in the world, holding one percent of global equity markets.

Diplomatic relations

Norway established diplomatic relations with the Philippines in 1948. From 1952 to 1956, Norway was represented by a Consulate, later, by a Consulate General in Manila. The Embassy was opened in 1967. Norway also has a Honorary Consulate in Cebu.

The Philippine Embassy in Norway was established in 2008. Today the embassy covers all the five Nordic countries from Oslo.

Norway is the third-party facilitator of peace talks between the Philippine Government (GPH) and the communist movement, NDFP. In addition, Norway participates in the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in Mindanao related to the peace process between the Government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and participates in the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) responsible for the decommissioning of the MILF weapons and combatants.

Norway supports local NGOs working on issues related to peace and reconciliation.