Norway expects trade with the Philippines to continue to rise, supported by an existing free trade agreements (FTAs) and the growing market that will encourage more Norwegian firms to do business in the country.

Norwegian Ambassador Christian Halaas Lyster told reporters during the reception for the visit of Norway State Secretary Andreas Motzfeldt Kravik that trade between Norway and the Philippines is poised for continued growth.

Data from the Norwegian embassy showed that Philippine exports to Norway rose by 23.4 percent to 694.62 million NOK (Norwegian krone) in 2022 from 562.99 million NOK in 2021.

On the other hand, shipments from Norway jumped by 48.8 percent to 920.65 million NOK in 2022 from 618.48 million NOK in 2021.

'I think one good thing is that we have the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) FTA in place. That makes it easier,' Lyster said.

The FTA between the Philippines and EFTA composed of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, covers trade in goods, services, investments, intellectual property, government procurement, competition and sustainable development.

As the Philippine market is growing, Lyster said Norway wants to attract more Norwegian companies here.

'I'm very optimistic about the developments. As long as the Philippines is able to have a stable framework, predictable framework for companies, then I think that there will be more companies, more investors coming to the Philippines,' he said.

He said firms wanting to do business in the Philippines have cited ease of doing business as a challenge, as they have to go to different agencies to secure different permits to set up their operations.

'There's too many steps to actually get up and running and sometimes it's not very transparent,' he said.

He said making the process easier by reducing the number of permits could be one way to address this challenge.

In addition, he said making sure the taxation system is transparent would be important.

'The good thing is that I know there is a lot of good work going on and that's why we actually get more investors to the Philippines. So we just have to continue, the country has to continue down the same path,' he said.

He said the embassy wants to make sure the Norwegian firms coming to invest in the Philippines are robust and able to build a stable business over time.

He said Norwegian firms in the country are currently active in the maritime and energy sectors.

While there are still many opportunities in maritime and energy, Norway also wants to see Norwegian firms investing in other sectors here, as well as an increase in Norwegian seafood imports to the Philippines.

The visit of Norway's State Secretary to the country is in line with the interest to further deepen the ties with the Philippines.

Copyright © 2022 PhilSTAR Daily, Inc Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (