Norway’s constantly traveling foreign minister, Børge Brende, was taking off yet again this week on another long-distance trip, this time to visit both Argentina and Uruguay. Brende said Norway wants “to strengthen cooperation” with both South American countries.
“The Argentinian government has put in motion ambitious economic reforms,” Brende stated in a press release this week. He called the reforms “good news” for future cooperation between Argentina and Norway.
He planned to visit Argentina on Thursday and Friday, with the goal of strengthening both political and economic contact and to examine opportunities for more Norwegian business activity in the country. His agenda included meetings with Argentina’s foreign minister, Susana Malcorra, and vice president Gabriela Michetti.
Brende said he was keen to discuss foreign policy, economic development, trade policy and investments. Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, has introduced economic reform in what Norway’s government called a “market-friendly direction,” also removing currency exchange restrictions and fees on imports and exports. The country is also emerging from a debt crisis and, according to the Norwegian foreign ministry, has made moves to increase foreign investment.
That’s clearly piqued Norway’s interest, with several Norwegian firms taking part in a “Norwegian-Argentinian Energy Forum” that Brende was due to open. “We think there’s potential for increased iinvestments from Norwegian companies in Argentina,” Brende said. “We hope the visit will mark a new start for cooperation.”
Argentina also recently sent a new ambassador to Norway, following the lengthy tenure of Argentina’s former ambassador. Juan Manuel Ortiz de Rozas had held his post in Norway for 10 years and four months when he retired in May, giving him seniority that also entitled him to the post of dean of the diplomatic corps in Norway. Ortiz de Rozas has been succeeded by Argentina’s new ambassador, Mónica Liliana Maria Victoria Dinucci. Iraq’s ambassador to Norway since 2010, Sundus Omar Ali Albayraqdar, has taken over as dean of the diplomatic corps.
Brende also was due to visit Uruguay on Friday and Saturday, for meetings with his counterpart Rodolfo Nin Novoa and Finance Minister Danilo Astori. They planned to discuss negotiations on a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), of which Norway is a member, along with cooperation between Norway and Uruguay, which currently is a member of the UN Security Council.
“Uruguay is a country that impresses us by scoring high in international rankings and being an important partner in international fora,” Brende said. He noted that Uruguay has also expressed interest in how Norway manages its oil wealth.