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Press Releases, 1/19/2011

Minister Väyrynen made a successful visit to the Persian Gulf

Press release 12/2010
19 January 2011

Minister Väyrynen was surrounded by local media in Kuwait. Photo: Petri Neittaanmäki.Minister Väyrynen was surrounded by local media in Kuwait. Photo: Petri Neittaanmäki.

Between 14 and 20 January, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen made a visit to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait accompanied by a large business delegation. The purpose of the visit was to promote bilateral trade with the countries in question.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are among the biggest markets for the Finnish technology industry. Outside of Europe, these countries have ranked the fourth and fifth biggest markets for Finland. In recent years, there has been a considerable decline in bilateral trade due to the economic recession and the transfer of technology industry production from Finland to the global markets. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has acknowledged the challenges the export trade is facing and is trying to influence the situation by making Finnish expertise better known in our trading partner countries.

The export promotion trip was attended by 40 companies representing, among others, energy, mining, IT, logistics and education sectors. The arrangements for the business delegation visit were made by Finpro.

During the visit, Finland also enhanced its good relations with the Persian Gulf countries.

Minister Väyrynen has visited Saudi Arabia before, in 1979, and back then he was hosted by Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud. Prince Saud still acts as Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia and Väyrynen had a meeting with him. In addition, Väyrynen met ministers responsible for various sectors of economy.

During the visit, the parties conducted successful and extensive talks about further development of bilateral trade relations. The hosts wished for increased co-operation between the countries in the sectors of technology industry, mining industry and education. The programme also included a visit to the museum displaying the history of Ibn Saud, the founder of the Saudi state.

In the United Arab Emirates, Väyrynen met Minister for Foreign Trade Sheika Lubna Al Quassim. The ministers noted that the prospects are good for increased bilateral trade between our countries now that the United Arab Emirates is aiming to diversify its economic structure. In addition to the traditional sectors of trade, the hosts were interested in co-operation within the educational sector in particular.

In the United Arab Emirates, Minister Väyrynen participated in the World Future Energy Summit, a conference on renewable energy. In his address to the summit, Väyrynen emphasised the need for sustainable development and environmentally friendly technologies when promoting free trade. Increased freedom of trade will speed up the introduction of ‘green technologies’ to the markets and lower the price of technologies so that they become attainable to the poor countries.

In Kuwait, Minister Väyrynen was received by the Crown Prince, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al Sabah. The previous time Minister Väyrynen visited Kuwait was in 1985, when he was hosted by Kuwait’s current emir, Jaber Al-Sabah.

References to good relations between our countries and prospects for enhanced trade relations were made in the meetings with Kuwait’s prime minister, minister of trade and industry, minister of electricity, minister of oil, and minister of education.

In addition to the official meetings, Minister Väyrynen met Finnish representatives of trade and industry operating in Kuwait.

Additional information: Petri Neittaanmäki, Senior Political Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 40 553 8245, Helena Tuuri, Head of the Unit for the Middle East and North Africa, tel. +358 9 1605 6538
 

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Updated 1/19/2011

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