Sergei Donskoi holds working meeting with Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland
In January 2014, under the framework of the Norwegian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Industrial, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation (IGC), Russia and Norway signed a memorandum of understanding on reducing international roaming rates between the two countries.
In September 2015, a memorandum of understanding was signed in Oslo between Russia’s Federal Agency for Fishery and Norway’s Climate and Environment Ministry on cooperation in managing, monitoring, and studying wild Atlantic salmon in Norway’s Finnmark County and Russia’s Murmansk Region.
In January 2016, a protocol on amendments to the appendix to the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Facilitation of Mutual Travel for Border Area Residents of Russia and Norway was signed in Moscow, expanding the area covered to include the whole of the Norwegian village of Neiden.
The meeting took place as part of a working visit to Oslo by Mr. Donskoi. Russia’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry co-chair the Norwegian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic, Industrial, Scientific and Technical Cooperation.
Mr. Donskoi noted that the IGC had last met in summer 2013, and that such a long break was not conducive to effective cooperation.
He observed that trade between Russia and Norway from January to September 2016 amounted to USD 876.9 million, down 6.3% year on year. Exports from Russia had fallen 6.2%, at USD 525.2 million, while imports from Norway were down 6.5%, at USD 351.7 million. Trade in services between Russia and Norway in the first half of 2016 amounted to USD 292.7 million, down 24.3% year on year.
Mr. Donskoi noted that despite this significant decrease in trade in goods, Norway remained a strategically important partner for Russia in northern Europe. Norwegian companies have quite a number of investment projects in Russia, particularly in oil and gas, energy, shipbuilding, telecommunications, the food industry, and tourism.
The Russian Minister emphasized that despite the foreign policy climate, the IGC’s working groups had continued to maintain a dialogue. He also informed the Norwegian delegation about the activities of the Russian research centre in the Svalbard archipelago and invited Norwegian research organizations to take part in its work.
The two sides discussed the reconstruction of the Skogfoss hydroelectric dam on the Paz (Paatsjoki) River, which marks part of the border between Russia and Norway. The dam is located within the Norwegian-Russian Pasvik Nature Reserve. Norway has a perpetual lease on the land around the dam on the Russian side, but the approach roads to it run through the Russian part of the reserve. Russia’s Natural Resources Ministry requested information on the details of the planned reconstruction and the possible impact on the Paz’s aquatic ecosystems as a result of the expected change to the water level in the river, which could adversely affect biodiversity in the river valley and the Pasvik Reserve.
The two sides also discussed cooperation in fishing and aquaculture. Russia is clear on the need for common technical measures to regulate fishing of the shared resources in the Barents and Norwegian Seas, and for the dates of the coastal fishing season for Atlantic salmon in the waters of Varangerfjord to be amended.
During the meeting, it was agreed in principle that the next session of the IGC would take place in Russia in April 2017.
Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi invited Norway’s Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 1–3, 2017.
Source: www.mnr.gov.ru (Russian)