The Deputy Director General at NHO, Ole Erik Almlid received more than 50 members of BNCC in their premises in Oslo. Almlid welcomed the Norwegian ambassador to Brazil, Nils Martin Gunneng, Chargé d'Affaires Silvana Polich, the chamber of commerce and its members.
Gunneng has been the ambassador in Brazil since last September. He shared his impressions with the audience regarding the Norwegian government strategies and highlighted that Norway has a profound interest in Brazil. In one hand, the bilateral trade between Brazil and Norway is not massive, on the other hand, Norway is a very significant investor in Brazil. The Norwegian government has invested US$ 1 billion to the Amazon Fund, and together with private investments sums almost US$ 28 billion. With such a significant investment, Norway believes and has the interest to witness a more harmonious and prosperous Brazil in the future.
The ambassador indicated that Brazil and Norway are incredibly different in the balance of power and that he recognizes some critical events in Brazil. Gunneng mentioned that the Lava Jato ("Car Wash") corruption investigation task force is still on while the Brazilian people is openly adressing the subject. As pointed in his presentation, this process that Brazil is facing recently might be painful, but these steps are vital to transparency. Corruption is not a Brazilian problem, says the ambassador, it is a global issue and what makes the difference is the way you deal with it. Two weeks ago, Gunneng attended the report launch of Transparency International in São Paulo, along with Brazilian businesses which are changing their operations model and board structures in order to be more transparent. He affirmed that the Norwegian Government has zero tolerance for corruption and thus, a more transparent Brazil is an advantage to Norwegian companies.
In the business perspective, the ambassador spotted Brazil's skepticism to foreign ownership. According to him, a Norwegian company can bring much more than investments to Brazil. Besides the know-how and the technology, Norwegian companies can potentially contribute with their strong values, such as zero tolerance for corruption, gender equality, security and safety and environmental protection. Plus, Brazilian companies owned by Norwegians also generate taxes to the country, concluded the ambassador.
He also briefly talked about the political scenario, that may present risks to the reforms agenda. Nevertheless, executive authorities continue to push for the approval of the reforms, which may be postponed until after elections which are set for October. The ambassador listed possible candidates but made it clear that it is still early to know who will run for the presidency.
The president of BNCC, Harald Martinsen reinforced the Ambassador's observation concluding that “what is good for Brazil is also important and good for Norway”. He highlighted some common points between the two nations, as the dependence of raw materials and commodities price. Moreover, Martinsen pointed out how important is the role of autonomous and competent institutions in Brazil.
Chargé d'Affaires, Silvana Polich followed the ambassador’s presentation. She added the approved constitutional amendment imposing strict rules limiting increases in public expenses for 20 years. According to Polich this is a key step towards the stabilization of public debt in the medium term. She also mentioned how the current momentum of the global economy is positive to Brazilian economic growth.
Plus, the Chargé d’Affaires mentioned the political perspective, signalizing that the relationship between Executive and Congress has improved. Environmental legislation is in place. She also agrees that it is still too early to discuss the Brazilian elections but assumes the possibility of an apparent polarization between right and left wings in the pre-campaign.
In conclusion, a Q&A session took place, and the diplomats addressed some subjects brought by the audience.
From left to right: Counsellor Ricardo de Souza Franco Peixoto and Chargé d'Affaires Slvana Polich from the Brazilian Embassy, Ambassador Nils Gunneng and the Deputy Director General at NHO, Ole Erik Almlid.
By Larissa Costa Slottet, BNCC