The first contact
The bilateral relation between Norway and Brazil began in 1842, when the Norwegian flagged ship Nordstjernen first arrived in Rio de Janeiro loaded with codfish. In exchange for the cod, the Norwegian ship returned with sugar and coffee. Because of this first trade, the two nations started a long tradition of exchanging these products and the activities of Norwegian shipping companies in Brazil. Additionally, Brazilians are currently among the biggest consumers of Norwegian codfish and Norwegians are the biggest Brazilian coffee drinkers in the world.
Beginning of diplomatic relations
In 1905, Brazil, with the Baron of Rio Branco ahead of its diplomacy, was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of the Kingdom of Norway, after Russia and the same day Belgium, United States, Italy, The United Kingdom and Switzerland did so. Brazil also became the first South American country to begin regular diplomatic relations with that Nordic country.
The Norwegian commercial presence in Brazil would be strengthened with the arrival in 1953 of the businessman Erling Lorentzen, married to Princess Ragnhild, daughter of King Olav V. Lorentzen, who founded the Norsul Shipping Company, one of the largest private companies in the sector.
King Olav V's visit to Brazil in September 1967 was the first of a Norwegian Head of State to Latin America and, in this context, took on political significance for relations between the two countries, reinforced by the presence of the royal couple in the military parade celebrating the National Date in Rio de Janeiro. The commercial economic component of the visit was also present, with the participation of the Minister of Industry, Sverre Rostoft, in the official delegation. The state visit promoted the negotiation and signing of agreements on pulp trade, air transport and consultation between maritime authorities.
The consolidation of Brazil’s democracy, the opening up of the economy and monetary stabilization in Brazil in the 1990s generated new opportunities for Norwegian investment in the country, highlighted by the promulgation of the "Oil Law" 9,478 which, among other provisions, determined the end of Petrobras' monopoly on exploration and production of oil and natural gas.
The state visit to Brazil of King Harald V and Queen Sonja in 2003 opened a new chapter in the bilateral relationship. The royal couple was accompanied by several ministers and, until then, the largest and most diversified delegation of Norwegian businessmen, with about 150 members. The State visit to Brazil had solid business support" and aimed to "give support to established Norwegian companies in Brazil, as well as open doors for new companies that want to settle there. Business seminars and rounds were organized in Rio de January and in São Paulo, in partnership with FIRJAN and FIESP, respectively. The Norwegian Association of Industries in the Oil and Gas Sector (INTSOK) defined Brazil as a priority market and decided to establish an office in Rio de Janeiro with the trade promotion agency Innovation Norway. On the diplomatic front, the State visit established a new area of bilateral dialogue and cooperation.
The visit of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to Brazil in 2008, a year after President Lula's invitation during the State visit to Norway, represented a continuation of the dialogue at the highest level never seen before in the relationship bilateral. The program and the agenda of the visit reflected concrete advances. On the economic front, the presence of the Prime Minister at the Rio Oil & Gas Fair symbolized the ability of Norwegian direct investments in the naval and offshore sectors to give a new dimension to the economic and technological relationship between the two countries. At the diplomatic level, the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in issues related to combating global warming, protection of biodiversity and strengthening of sustainable development, followed by Prime Minister Stoltenberg's announcement of Norway's support to the Amazon Fund, represented the expression of an "innovative partnership" at the global level. In fact, Norway's contribution to the Amazon Fund was the first voluntary contribution from a country to a nationally managed sustainable development program. It also highlighted the recognition of Brazil's political will, institutional capacity and technology.
The exchange of State visits, as well as the official visit of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to Brazil, was a step towards intensifying the political dialogue at the highest level on bilateral and global issues - climate, poverty reduction, health, international trade, peacekeeping, United Nations system, international financial architecture - as well as the growing Norwegian presence in strategic sectors for Brazilian economic development, especially energy and shipbuilding.
In 2009, visits to the Nordic country by Ministers Tarso Genro and Altemir Gregolin inaugurated two new strands of cooperation: the dialogue on cultural and religious diversity, in the context of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, and the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Ministers Altemir Gregolin and Helga Pedersen signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in aquaculture and other areas of common interest, such as the management of marine resources, on March 2009. The instrument provides the coordination of actions aimed at exchanging technology and attracting Norwegian investments in Brazil. Based on historical experience in fisheries activities, which places the country second in the world in exports of fishery products, Norway has developed recognized institutional capacities in aquaculture management and management, as well as breeding technologies, genetic improvement and animal health. There is a special interest for the promotion of aquaculture of species native to the Brazilian Amazon. The possibility of supplying animal protein from aquaculture has been recognized as a new "paradigm" for sustainable development in forest regions and as one of the instruments of preservation of the Amazon.
In 2015, HRH Crown Prince Haakon came to Brazil to a State visit with a delegation of almost 100 people. The visit included a meeting with the then vice president Temer to discuss the expanding cooperation between Norway and Brazil in several areas – including protection of the Amazon region, to which Norway makes a financial contribution. Following the meeting, the Crown Prince continued his programme by opening a roundtable conference on commerce and industry, discussin framework conditions and cooperation. In Rio de Janeiro, the Crown Prince opened a plenary session for an audience of more than 400 people. The seminars had focus on oil&gas and offshore maritime, renewable energy, seafood and startup companies.
In 2016, 6 out of 10 of Norway´s biggest companies with significant presence in Brazil spread throughout the country and about 120 Norwegian companies established. Norway is the 8th biggest investor in Brazil.