Finance Minister to visit Norway from Oct 23

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New Delhi, Oct 21 (UNI) Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram will be on a three-day visit to Norway from October 23 to hold discussions with his counterpart Ms Kristin Halvorsen on bilateral economic ties, especially in the sectors where either India or Norway has some advantages.

Mr Chidmabaram had met Ms Halvorsen earlier in March this year during her visit to India.

The issues likely to be discussed during the visit include strengthening of information technology, food processing, hydrocarbons, fisheries, shipping and ship building, hydro-electricity, tunneling and environment.

The Finance Minister is also likely to call for policy changes by the Norwegian Government in order to facilitate investments in India from the corpus of the Pension Fund-Global.

During her visit to India, Ms Halvorsen had indicated the possibilities of the Norwegian pension fund making investment in India (out of their corpus of over US 320 billion dollars).

She had also suggested possibilities for utilising India's technical manpower besides informing of a dedicated budget line for CDM projects in India and concurring with Indian views on climate change and on oil price rise (despite being a major oil producer).

Norwegian Minister for International Development Erik Solheim will be calling on Mr Chidambaram for bilateral discussions on issues related to Bilateral Development Co-operation.

The Finance Minister will also meet the Governor of the Central Bank of Norway, the Norges Bank.

Norway's Pension Fund-Global which has a huge corpus of more than US 350 billion dollars is managed by the Investment Management (NBIM) division of the Norges Bank. NBIM is currently registered with SEBI in India and has started investments in India from July 2005 and as per SEBI, the purchase value of Norges Bank investments on October four was Rs 2107 crores (533 million dollars).

While GPF-G investment in India has crossed half a billion dollar mark in two years time from its registration with SEBI in June, 2005, the figure is only 0.15 per cent of the total corpus of GPF-G.

Therefore the Finance Minister's meeting with the Governor of the Norges Bank is being viewed as very important in this context.

Mr Chidambaram is being accompanied by a Business delegation consisting of members of CII and FICCI, CMD of the Punjab National Bank and a representative of the Shipping Corporation of India.

An Investment Promotion Symposium is being organised by NHO/NICCI/DNV (business and trade associations of Norway) to help promote bilateral investments which will be attended by the Finance Minsiter and the entire Indian delegation.

He is also scheduled to visit the prestigious Noble Institute at Oslo for delivering a keynote address on the topic 'India's Socio-Economic Agenda: Development with Democracy'.

In addition, he would visit the Norwegian School of Management BI at Oslo, which is Europe's largest private business school, and deliver an address on the topic 'India's emergence as an economic power: Road travelled and the way forward'.

An IT outsourcing event is also being organised keeping in view India's strength in this sector. The event is likely to be attended by Norwegian business houses and also representatives from the India IT industry besides the Finance Minister himself.

UNI

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