– We observe a cautious optimism and notice that there are more participants this year, says Frode Mellemvik, Director of the High North Center for Business and Governance at Nord University, from Moscow, where the Norwegian-Russian Trade Forum opened yesterday.
– So far today, the opening lectures from both the Norwegian and the Russian side have been characterized by optimism, Mellemvik says to High North News.
– Like Daniel says (Bjarmann-Simonsen, State Secretary at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, journ.note); In a friendship lasting more than 1,000 years there will be both ups and downs. Norway and Russia have cooperated closely for years, and there have been both ups and downs, but our countries have always found ways in which to cooperate. The ability to find solutions is what characterizes a friendship, after all, he adds.
Increased trade and new opportunities
– Today, we observe a cautious increase in interaction between Norway and Russia, and we see opportunities arise in new sectors too, Mellemvik continues.
The last years’ sanctions have mainly affected the oil and gas sector as well as the fish industry.
– Now we see opportunities in new areas, among others aqua culture and sea transportation, he adds.
When High North News speaks with the Director of the High North Centre for Business and Governance at Nord University in Bodø, Norway he is in a taxi on his way through the streets of Moscow.
– We are on a coffee break just now, and I was just interviewed by Russian TV, he tells us, adding that the trade forum, which organized in Norway and Russia every second year respectively, has gathered more than 300 participants this year, among them more than 60 from Norway.
The Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation organize the trade forum, which takes place for the sixth year running this year.
Both Russian and Norwegian authorities were represented at the opening by Russia’s Environment Minister Dmitry Kobylkin and State Secretary Daniel Bjarmann-Simonsen (Con.) respectively. Liv Monica Stubholt, Chair of the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce, and President Sergey Katyrin of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry gave the opening speeches.
The forum aims to create a meeting place where important issues in Norwegian-Russian business cooperation can be discussed, in cooperation with both business actors and the authorities. The organizers also want the forum to be an arena for Norwegian and Russian companies and organizations can connect and meet new contacts, as well as discuss challenges and opportunities for bilateral trade.
– Requires knowledge
The ocean industry on both sides of the border is the main theme for this year’s forum. Among the themes for discussion are oil and gas, logistics and maritime innovations.
– You are also contributing with a talk to the particpants today. What is your main message?
– My main message is that much of what Norway and Russia are to cooperate about, in business, requires knowledge. Be it about oil and gas, the supply industry, aquaculture or tourism. It is important to realize that there is a wide spectrum of areas that must be strengthened and further developed when it comes to research and education collaboration.
– It is also important that this takes place in areas of significance for both countries, and that both business and the authorities are in on this, Mellemvik adds.