Address by H.E Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay, for the Inaugural Session of the Bhutan-Sweden Cooperation Forum, 9th June 2016, Thimphu

Your Majesties,

Members of the Delegation from Sweden

Participants from Bhutan

On behalf of the Royal Government of Bhutan, I would like to once again extend a very warm welcome to Your Majesties on your historic State Visit to Bhutan. This visit is indeed a milestone in the long and friendly relations between Bhutan and Sweden. It reinforces the bonds of friendship between our two countries, which Your Majesties have personally contributed immensely towards strengthening, not least, by Your Majesties’ private visit to Bhutan in 1993. I am most confident that this visit will further enhance the close ties between the Royal Families of our two countries, promote greater understanding between the two peoples and open up avenues for cooperation and collaboration at various levels.

Today, I am most delighted to be able to join Your Majesties at the inaugural session of the Bhutan-Sweden Cooperation Forum. This gathering, which is probably the largest exchange between the peoples of our two countries yet, is an opportunity like no others to build upon the already existing cooperation and explore more common grounds for collaboration. With the grace of Your Majesties, I have no doubt that this Forum and the ensuing seminars would be highly productive and mutually beneficial to all the participants here. My deep appreciation goes to the Government of Sweden for organizing the Forum and to all the participants for joining us.

Bhutan and Sweden have a strong foundation for greater cooperation at all levels. That foundation is provided by our shared values, the most obvious and fundamental being our strong emphasis on social welfare, sustainability and conservation of natural environment. It is for this reason that I am most delighted to note that this initiative represents a major step towards enhancing our collaborations.

For the benefit of the business representatives, allow me to reiterate some of the comparative advantages that Bhutan offers to foreign investors. We have a workforce that is well educated; we have clean, cheap and abundant energy; we have economic and FDI policies that are business-friendly; we have peace and stability; and, most importantly, we have free access to India’s huge market. In addition, Bhutan’s economic growth forecast at 8.4% this year is expected to be the third fastest growing economy in the world.

I am hopeful that over the course of the day the visiting business representatives as well as the Bhutanese counterparts will be able to see more clearly how these advantages can be leveraged to enhance collaboration between the two sides.

I wish the Forum a great success.

Tashi Delek

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