The Philippines currently enjoys robust and cordial political, economic and people-to-people relations with Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden.
On the political level, there are close bilateral contacts between the Philippines and each of the four countries, built largely on a shared belief in democracy and the promotion of universal human rights. Our countries have convergent interests in many global and regional matters and have worked together in the United Nations and other international fora on issues ranging from non-proliferation of nuclear weapons to gender equality and the protection of the environment.
The Philippines also has mechanisms for regular high-level political bilateral consultations with Norway, Finland, and Sweden.
As members of the European Union (EU), Sweden and Finland also maintain engagements with the Philippines through the EU-ASEAN dialogue mechanism and the ASEM process.
Norway, on the other hand, has been involved in the efforts to bring about lasting peace in the Philippines playing a significant role as a third-party facilitator in the peace talks between the Philippine Government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA-NDF). It was also part of the international monitoring team in efforts leading to the landmark 2012 Framework Agreement signed with the Bangsamoro group.
On the economic front, the Philippines had a total merchandise trade volume of US$ 585.4 million with the five Nordic countries in 2013. Total Philippine exports to the region amounted to more than a quarter billion dollars at around US$ 285.3 million. Sweden, the largest trading partner of the Philippines in the Nordic region accounted for 44% of total trade volume with Finland following at 28%.
In the area of investments, Norway has proven to be an eager investor in the Philippines, particularly in the area of natural gas and renewable energy projects for Norway. Sweden has also begun making significant investments in the Philippines in the area of manufacturing.
Norway and the Philippines also have a long tradition of cooperation in the maritime field, where they have complementary competences and resources. Norwegian shipowners employ more than 25,000 Filipino seafarers in shipyards or on board Norwegian owned or controlled vessels, a testimonial to the trust and confidence Norwegian shipowners have placed over the years for Filipino seafarers. Filipino maritime students benefit as well from the education and training provided by sophisticated Norwegian maritime training schools including the Norwegian Training Center in Manila which was established by the Norwegian Shipowners Association (Norges Rederiforbund) back in 1990. Norwegian ship owners have also been building and repairing vessels in Philippine shipyards and many companies engaged in the maritime sector have put up offices in the Philippines.
The Philippines and Iceland also cooperate in the area of geothermal energy.
In the area of tourism, there has also been a marked increase in the number of tourists from the Nordic region visiting the Philippines in recent years with Norway, Finland, and Sweden all registering continuous growth.
Norway and Sweden have embassies in the Philippines.