Minister of Trade and Industry talks about her visit to Brazil

We now only have a weekend before the program for the official visit kicks off. HRH Crown Prince Haakon and the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland come accompanied by six deputy mininsters and a business delegation.

Minister Mæland talks about the reason behind her visit to Brazil in this short video:

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Bilateral trade between Norway and Brazil

Brazil is Norway’s most important partner in Latin America, and is an increasingly important country for Norwegian industry. Trade between Brazil and Norway dates back to the 19th century, when Norwegian flagged ship Nordstjernen first arrived in Rio de Janeiro loaded with codfish, returning to Norway with sugar and coffee. Today, bacalhao is a central part of the Brazilian culture, and Norwegians are among the biggest consumers of coffee. Hundred years later, the relationship between the two countries was further strengthened with an increasing amount of Norwegian companies tying more and more business deals in Brazil.


M/S Nordstjernen. Photo credit: Skanfil, Oslo.

Prominent and sizeable Norwegian companies such as Norsk Hydro, DNV and Aker, from various market sectors, entered the Brazilian market in the 1970’s, thereby strengthening the Norwegian interest and presence in Brazil. By that time, Norwegians were already present; it was mainly through Norwegian shipowner Erling Lorentzen, who had started Aracruz Celulose in Brazil in the late 60’s, and hence served as a key passageway to many new entrants of Norwegian establishment.

The 1990’s were crucial years for Brazil. With the introduction of the «Plano Real» in 1994, the Brazilian economy finally reached granted stability, following decades of failed economic plans and hyperinflation. Similarly, with the promulgation of the new framework petroleum law (Law No. 9,478/97) the year 1998 put an end to Petrobras’ monopoly. Over the following decade, Brazil saw a transformation in its economy, as a privatization movement overtook the country, allowing shifts away from import, substitution industrialization, and public monopolies privatized. The paradigm shift in the economy paved the way for international companies and FDI to Brazil, especially in the emerging offshore oil and gas sector, a shift many Norwegian companies participated in.

Norwegian investments in Brazil

Accumulated Norwegian investments in Brazil, including asset transfers, exceeded USD 24.6 billion by the end of 2014; the figure totals USD 16.7 billion when excluding the effects of asset transfers. In addition to those numbers, the Norwegian government’s pension fund held investments in Brazil that amounted to USD 10.8 billion in 2014, including for example a 0.61% ownership of Petrobras (valued at USD 297 million).

Norwegian companies with in-house Research & Development teams in Brazil invested over USD 20 million in R&D projects in 2014, led by large players such as Statoil, Aker Solutions and Hydro.

Despite a natural historical focus on oil & gas and maritime investments, Norwegian players as a whole have increasingly enjoyed a presence in Brazil within varied sectors such as Agriculture, Media and Renewables. Several of them also enjoy deep local knowledge and strong enough balance sheets locally to withstand challenging times ahead; cheap buying opportunities will also arise for players willing to be more aggressive and counter-cyclical. Those investors should be in a good position to reap the benefits when the tide once again turns in their favor.

Innovation Norway is responsible for promoting the Norwegian industry abroad. Our office in Rio de Janeiro manages Innovation House Rio, our business incubator office, and helps Norwegian companies in their efforts towards the Brazilian market.

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