18 October 2012

Namibia: Nation/Norwegian Ties Set to Grow

Windhoek — A Norwegian diplomat yesterday met President Hifikepunye Pohamba at State House in a visit that could bolster trade between the two countries.

Ambassador-designate, Kari Bjornsgaard, and the honorary Consul General of the Kingdom of Norway, Dr Klaus Endresen, yesterday also met the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Hage Geingob.

The diplomats, who presented their credentials to President Hifikepunye Pohamba on Tuesday, were following up on Geingob's high-powered visit to Norway last month.

One of the issues discussed during the short courtesy call was the increase in trade between the two countries.

"We are grateful for the lucrative Norwegian market and we want to increase our export of beef to your country," Minister Geingob told the visiting Norwegian diplomats.

Namibian beef exports to Norway currently take place under two programmes, which are the Norwegian Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme and the agricultural agreement between the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) and Norway.

The Norwegian GSP system allows an annual duty-free quota of 2 700 tons of beef from Namibia and Botswana. In addition, the Sacu-Norway agriculture agreement, which forms part of the instruments establishing the Sacu-Free Trade Agreement, includes a protocol on beef under which Norway grants an annual quota of 500 tonnes.

From the above two instruments, Namibia and Botswana each has a total beef quota of 1 600 tonnes per annum for preferential market access into Norway.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Dr Malan Lindeque, who also attended yesterday's meeting, said that "good discussions in respect of expanding Namibia's beef quota had taken place" during last month's visit to the Scandinavian country.

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