King Harald and Queen Sonja are on a state visit to Argentina this week, accompanied by several government ministers and around 60 Norwegian business leaders. The goal is to boost trade between Norway and Argentina.
“There’s no doubt that President (Mauricio) Macri’s economic policies and his desire for more foreign investment makes it more attractive for Norwegian business to look to Argentina,” Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Norway’s business and trade minister who’s along on the trip, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
Norwegian investment in Argentina currently amounts to around NOK 10 billion, compared to the NOK 250 billion invested in neighboring Brazil. The royals’ state visit, which follows a visit by former Foreign Minister Børge Brende last year, is expected to boost that, and be a new milestone in relations between the two countries.
Queen Sonja reportedly was getting the most attention in Argentinian media, with major newspaper Clarins noting that it was the queen and not the king who would be opening a large business seminar in Buenos Aires Wednesday morning. The paper viewed it as “a strong signal of equality,” and reported that women hold leading positions in Norway, including the prime minister’s post and several other key ministerial positions.
The royals were greeted when they arrived on Sunday by Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie, and by Norwegian children living in Argentina when they arrived at their hotel. On Tuesday King Harald would be laying down a wreath at the national monument at Plaza San Martin in Buenos Aires and formally received by President Macri and his wife, Juliana Awada.
That would be followed by a luncheon at the presidential palace, Casa Rosada before the royals visit Argentina’s national congress in the afternoon and the Supreme Court.
Norway’s business and trade development organization Innovation Norway, which has been caught in conflict lately, was hosting a dinner Tuesday evening before the business seminar begins on Wednesday. Its title, “A new partnership for value creation,” reflects the business and trade theme surrounding the royal visit.
King Harald, who just turned 81, and Queen Sonja, age 80, have been cutting back on their international trips but have enjoyed private travel to South America in recent years, including visits to Easter Island and the Amazon. There would be some sightseeing on the Argentinian trip, which runs through Thursday and will also include visits to the memorial park to victims of the military dictatorship in Argentina, a seminar on Antarctica, a reception for the local Norwegian community, another official dinner at El Zanjon de Granados and a ceremony to mark the launch of Norwegian Air’s new service to Argentina.