The Philippines and Norway have a long history of bilateral relations, owing mostly to cooperation in the maritime sector. Today, relations between our two countries have expanded to encompass not only the shipping industry, but also other business sectors, labour migration, and peace and reconciliation efforts.
There are approximately 18 000 Filipinos living in Norway. They are a very well-integrated minority group in the Norwegian society with a high level of participation in the work force. There is also a variety of active NGOs and interest groups working to promote Filipino culture in Norway. Every year the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day takes place in many communities around the country.
About 3000 Norwegians are living in the Philippines. Some do business, some do charitable work, whilst others have established new families – or come to spend their retirement under the sun.
Economic Relations and Trade
Economic relations between our two countries comprise shipping, investments in industry, investments from the Norwegian government pension fund, and services, goods and commodities trade.
Business Environment And Trade Overview
The Philippines Norway Business Council (PNBC) unites the Norwegian business community in the Philippines and currently has more than 45 member companies and institutions. The Norwegian Embassy is a founding member and is permanently represented in the board of the council.
A lot of the business is still shipping related, but other sectors follow suit. There is also trade with services, goods and commodities. Chemical products are the main export commodity from Norway to the Philippines, followed by fish. Conversely, electronics, machinery, transport equipment and miscellaneous manufactured articles account for about two thirds of the imports to Norway from the Philippines.
Norwegian companies are showing an increased interest in the Philippines. Notably, investments in industrial enterprises have grown in recent years and have shown good profit margins. The energy sector shows promise, with the Philippines having significant potential in the development of hydropower plant and possibly large amounts of untapped natural gas and oil resources. Norway as an energy nation has decades of competence and experience in utilizing and managing such resources.
Norwegian shipping companies employ about 25 000 Filipino seafarers aboard their ships or in shipyards, accounting for one third of the total number of seafarers on Norwegian controlled vessels. The Norwegian Training Center in Manila provides relevant training for Filipino seafarers serving on Norwegian ships. Maritime cooperation has remained one of the key elements of our bilateral relations. The Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA/Sjøfartsdirektoratet) is currently assisting the Philippine Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) in an attempt to ensure that maritime/seafarer education is in compliance with the STCW Convention. A number of Norwegian shipping companies have offices in the Philippines.
Norwegian Government Pension Fund Investments
The Norwegian Government Pension Fund – Global (SPU) holds shares in several Philippine companies. The SPU is one of the largest funds in the world, holding one percent of global equity markets. Its investments in the Philippines currently (Oct. 2013) amount to NOK 3.28 billion (PHP 23.6 billion) and include holdings in Ayala Corp., BDO, BPI, Cebu Pacific Air, Globe, Jollibee, PLDT, PNB, SM and San Miguel, among others.
Norway established diplomatic relations with the Philippines in 1948. From 1952 to 1956, Norway was represented by a Consulate, later, by a Consulate General in Manila. The Embassy was opened in 1967. The Embassy has three sub-sections, the Maritime Section, the Consular Section and the Visa Section. Norway also has a Honorary Consulate in Cebu. Today, Norway is the only Nordic country to have an embassy in Manila.
The Philippine Embassy in Norway was established in 2008, when it moved from Stockholm due to increasing cooperation in energy and the maritime sector, as well as the increasing number of Filipinos living in Norway. Today the embassy covers all the five Nordic countries from Oslo.
Norway supports a number of Filipino development projects, as well as NGOs working for human rights and social development in the Philippines, through its Peace and Reconciliation Fund. Norway is the third-party facilitator of peace talks between the Philippine Government (GPH) and the Communist movement, NDFP. In addition, Norway participates in the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in Mindanao related to the peace process between the Government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).Back to top