Røe Isaksen to eat a taco dinner before a customs debate in the United States of America

Torbjørn Røe IsaksenMinister of Trade and Industry Torbjørn Røe Isaksen (Conservative Party).Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

“Workplaces in the Norwegian export industry around the world are at stake,” said the Minister of Industry, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen of Høyre (H) before the meeting with the US Trade Minister.


US trade measures and President Donald Trump’s announcement of higher tariffs on aluminum and steel are to be at the top of the agenda when Røe Isaksen meets US Trade Minister, Wilbur Ross, on Thursday.

The United States trip starts on Monday. Then it will be a Taco Dinner in New York with Norwegian tech companies, among other things, to discuss establishment on the east or west coast, and what Norwegian authorities can contribute.

Hard reality

Røe Isaksen emphasised that the most important thing he has on the program the four days he is in the United States is the struggle for Norwegian export jobs.

“We are a small and open economy that is completely dependent on trading with the
world.If it becomes harder to sell our goods internationally, it affects direct jobs in cities and settlements around the country. This is not theory, but hard economic reality,’’ Isaksen pointed out.

At the same time, export of aluminum and steel from Norway to the United States is so limited that customs duties against Norway mean little in the American context.

This does not, however, make this Røe Isaksen’s main argument.

Nearly allied

‘’The United States itself has justified trade measures with security policy considerations.

Then our long story as close allies becomes important. Americans must see that when Norway is not on the temporary exemption list, many in Norway now wonder if we are no longer valued as ally,” said Røe Isaksen to NTB news.

He believes this argument will help to get Norway excluded from trade restrictions.

“I will also emphasise that we regard the discrimination between Norway and the EU as unreasonable.But the main argument is to tell how this is perceived as a grossly
unfair treatment of a close ally,” said the Minister of Industry.

World Trade

A more long-term goal is to argue for free world trade in general. It’s an even tougher nut to crack, said Røe Isaksen.

“I have no illusion that Norway alone can make a difference here. After all, we are a little fish in the ocean, although the Americans have traditionally taken into account what their allies want.And then this comes in the wake of the successful meeting
between Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Trump in the White House,” said the Minister for Industry.

Trip to congress

There will also be time for a trip to the congress. The Minister for Industry will also talk about Norway’s commitment to the sea.

“The government has promised that the ocean is one of our most important initiatives, because ocean-related industries create jobs throughout Norway. Norwegian maritime competence is an important export product,” said Røe Isaksen.


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