Ambassador of Ukraine to Norway Viacheslav Yatsiuk spoke at the opening of the Ukrainian-Norwegian business forum “Emerging Ukraine: Europe’s New Growth Engine?”. The business forum was held online as part of the third meeting of the Ukrainian-Norwegian Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Business and Economic Cooperation on 12 November 2020.
Opening remarks by Viacheslav Yatsiuk, Ambassador of Ukraine to Norway at the Ukrainian-Norwegian Business Forum “Emerging Ukraine: Europe’s New Growth Engine?”, 12 November 2020
Ladies and Gentlemen!
It is a great privilege for me to welcome you at the second part of our important event in the Ukrainian-Norwegian business dialogue. It takes place against the background of challenging times. COVID-19 is only one of the challenges and, as we are all afraid, maybe not the most daunting.
However, it is highly likely that our ancestors from the medieval Norwegian Kingdom and the Kyiv Rus’ realm would disagree that our today’s problems should prevent us from “thinking big” and daring new accomplishments.
They could quite legitimately say: “Listen, we didn’t have any vaccines at all nor any laboratories for them. We didn’t have electric ships. We didn’t have the internet and digital platforms. It is true that we had Blue Tooth, but that was the nickname of one of our short-lived kings and we would not recommend to rely on him too much”.
I hope you understand the perspective from which you are invited to look at the rapidly evolving partnership between Ukraine and Norway.
Despite no less challenging times, our ancestors succeeded to create the Kyiv Rus’ that was one the most advanced state formations of the medieval Europe. And they also created the Great Trade Route from the Varangians to the Greeks that was our joint ownership and that was no less glorious than the famous Silk Road.
That success story was based on trade and commerce, and it was achieved through the synergy and engagement of the local people of modern Ukraine and the most daring Scandinavians, many of whom were from modern Norway.
Today Ukraine and Norway have all the prerequisites to repeat that shared success. Ukraine and Norway are quite unique and most rewarding partners for each other. Our economies are to a very large extent mutually complementary. Our strengths and advantages are mutually reinforcing.
All this is convincingly proved by the impressive progress achieved in our bilateral cooperation in the last few years. Just consider the facts:
- in only three years’ time Ukraine and Norway have almost doubled their bilateral trade;
- we have started to implement first large investment projects;
- substantial part of our bilateral cooperation already now involves such highly sophisticated industries as renewable energy and IT;
- and recently Ukraine and Norway have even started to talk seriously about eventual joint projects in the aerospace sector.
It is true that we are only at the beginning of a really meaningful cooperation. It is also true that both Ukraine and Norway should do more in order to remove obstacles to further growth of their business ties. We in Ukraine continue our persistent efforts to ensure a level playing field for business and investment activities.
But it is also highly likely that we are at the beginning of something big, that we are at the beginning of a new important success story. And, first and foremost, it is the companies and investors of Norway and Ukraine who are the real engines of its development.
In order to speed up this success story, what is really needed and expected today from the Norwegian and Ukrainian businesses is their deeper engagement, more manifestations of entrepreneurial spirit, their resilience against temporary down-turns. And, yes, we need much better information sharing about opportunities offered by our two economies. One of the biggest obstacles to the expansion of our cooperation is that many Norwegian businesses are simply not aware or misinformed about the opportunities in Ukraine.
In these endeavours our respective businesses may rely on full support of the political leadership of our two countries. This was clearly confirmed by the results of today’s meeting of the Norwegian-Ukrainian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation. The Government of Ukraine highly values our close and constructive dialogue with the Government of Norway aimed at supporting and streamlining our economic cooperation.
I would like to express Ukraine’s particular gratitude to Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nibø for her personal deep involvement into enhancement of our economic ties.
I wish all of us a productive and result-oriented discussion in the second part of our Forum.