Dear Esteemed Members & Partners –
In my many post-summer interactions with AmCham member company leaders, I am often struck by the pragmatism conveyed as related to change. Constant, unyielding and often painful, change seems to be at the forefront of your agendas, now more than ever.
During Arendalsuka, we learned that patient access to cutting-edge healthcare solutions requires a reboot (read “change”) of current procurement mindsets. Enhanced public-private collaboration is a lofty goal, but real-world programs like CONNECT – along with innovations from AbbVie, Cisco, Microsoft and others – are how we are going to make a lifesaving difference for Norwegian patients.
In Stavanger, together with Ambassador Marc Nathanson, we championed bilateral energy technology collaboration – in the Houston Pavilion – during a dizzying ONS week focused upon energy security and transition.
One week later, we were curtly informed that Norway’s Houston Consulate will be closed in 2023. The change is “intended to enable the Foreign Service to provide better assistance to Norwegian companies.” We and our friends in Texas and Stavanger will need help in understanding the Foreign Ministry’s changed strategic priorities and US regional focus going forward.
Energy pricing, both domestically and for Norway’s gas exports to Europe – has become what may be the current government’s defining issue. AmCham’s energy intensive member industries are of course impacted, but are generally scaled to adjust and adapt. Norwegian Continental Shelf assets, on the other hand, are produced by Norwegian and international companies. Any government led change initiatives to stabilize NCL gas prices must include input from all relevant stakeholders.
As I write this letter, Governor Jay Inslee and his Washington State trade delegation are busily making their way to meetings in Oslo, Horten, Trondheim, Ålesund and elsewhere. The first of many post-pandemic US trade delegations to come, Washington delegates are focused on change-enabling partnerships in Norway – especially within “energy, technology, sustainability and improvements to correctional facilities.”
Prime Minister Støre and Defence Minister Gram are also currently on transatlantic tour, as were Stortinget’s Finance and Public Administration Committees recently. US-Norway security, energy and climate change policies are being coordinated and adapted to changing geopolitical realities.
Looking ahead, our change-laden AmCham community will happily have multiple Q4 opportunities to meet and exchange via our Mentorship Program, Financial Forum, Sustainability Forum, Rising Leaders Program, and multiple working groups. Of note, and on the subject of imminent change, please join our US Midterm Election briefing with White House Correspondent Jon Decker on October 24th. Do also register soon for our annual Thanksgiving Charity Dinner on November 22nd. Seats for the latter are limited and will shortly be fully subscribed.
Since the summer break and continuing over the coming weeks, my colleagues and I will be reaching out to many of you for in-person updates on how your transatlantic companies are adapting and preparing for the precarious road ahead. Common, cross-industry themes and challenges are already apparent – both persisting and new. Our work together continues in earnest!