Excellencies, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for the Crown Princess and me to be here in Canada together with a large delegation of Danish companies. We have been very much looking forward to what is already proving to be an inspiring, intensive and productive time here in Canada.
Canada and Denmark are neighbours through Baffin Bay. Not only do we share borders, we also share many of the same values. We believe that open and free societies, exchange of people and economic cooperation are important to the well-being and prosperity of our countries.
Values that are important to doing ‘good’ business are also firmly rooted within our two countries. Both our countries are market economies and we can both pride ourselves of being among the least corrupt countries in the world. Canada ranks number nine in Transparency International’s index while Denmark – I am proud to say – ranks number one.
In international rankings, Denmark is ranked as one of the most innovative and business friendly countries in the world. In more specific terms, we have excellent conditions for running a business. Our labour force is flexible and highly qualified, and we are world-leaders in many sectors, some of which are represented within the delegation. In other words: We have a lot to offer and a lot to share.
Together with the Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, the Crown Princess and I are heading a business delegation of more than 75 Danish companies. These companies are active in the following sectors; food production, health, design and fashion as well as architecture and construction. We believe that within each of these sectors exists great opportunities for business between Canada and Denmark.
Let us work together and let us find innovative and smart ways of reaching the goals we set. I believe the coming days will be full of open minds and idea generation. And I am convinced that this will lead to the further development of stronger commercial ties.
Canada has many success stories that we admire and learn from. One is the creation of a coherent and affluent country – a nation on the world’s second largest territory – in a mere 150 years. Another could be the consumer friendly Canadian inventions like for instance the walkie-talkie, the egg carton, medicinal insulin and ‘poutine’. All this – and much more – could not have been done without the energy, entrepreneurship and innovative thinking that Canada is renowned for.
Canada is an important business partner for Denmark. And prospects for future cooperation are very positive. Many Danish companies are already active in Canada and represent great success stories. Other companies are eager to start cooperation with their Canadian counterparts. The same is true for Canadian companies in Denmark.
Let us use the coming days to discover how we can best match our needs, competences and experiences for the benefit of both of our businesses and our countries.
Our relations are not only economically defined. Danish movies are shown at Toronto International Film Festival and all over Canada. And Canadian actors and musicians are household names in Denmark. Culture reflects our history, traditions and identity. Through cultural exchange we gain a better understanding of each other; our similarities, our differences – and even our oddities. All of this is important to understand when interacting and doing business.
The Crown Princess and I look forward to participating in the many interesting events, and we wish you all some productive and enjoyable days. I am sure they will lead to further prosperity and friendships between Canadians and Danes.