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NDTO News Article

NORWAY Trade Mission Scheduled for June

NDTO is planning the Norway Trade Mission, scheduled for June 8-15, 2013.  The itinerary will include tours and one-on-one meetings with potential buyers, scheduled with assistance from the US Commercial Service in Oslo.  Part of the delegation, led by Norsk Hostfest out of Minot, ND, will also visit Telemark, Stavanger, and Skien, the sister city of Minot.

Companies with interest in the Norwegian market are encouraged to contact NDTO prior to April 26 for opportunity assessment.

NORWAY Snapshot

In a turbulent global economy, Norway may be a safe haven for export companies.  A wealthy public sector, a large surplus on national budgets, a dominant energy sector, a sober banking system and one of the highest GDP per capita make Norway better positioned than most other countries.  Norway is sometimes used as a test market for foreign manufacturers to effectively measure the potential of their new products due to the homogeneous market.  Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU), but is linked to the EU through the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement. By virtue of the EEA, Norway is practically part of the EU’s single market, except in fisheries and agriculture.

Location: Northern Europe, west of Sweden, bordering the North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean

Capital: Oslo

Land: Total = 323,802 sq. km., an area similar to Montana, Poland or Italy

Population: 4,676,305 (July 2010 est.)

Language: Bokmal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities; most citizens speak English fluently

Climate: Generally temperate, with modifications due to North Atlantic Current; colder interior;  rainy year-round on west coast

Agriculture: Although agriculture accounts only for about 1% of GDP, Norway maintains strict protections that shelter the sector from global competition.  Norway is 50% self-sufficient in agricultural production but maintains a protective system that assures domestic producers have little competition until all domestic production has been consumed.

Major Agricultural Products:  barley, wheat, potatoes; pork, beef, veal, milk; fish

GDP: 413.5 billion (2010 est.)  $499.8 billion (2012 est.)

GDP Growth: 3.1% (2012 est.); 1.5% (2011 est.); 0.6% (2010 est.)

Import Commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals, foodstuffs

Partners: Sweden 13.3%, Germany 12%, China 9%, Denmark 6.3%, UK 5.6%, US 5.4%, Netherlands 4.1% (2011)

Exports Commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, machinery and equipment, metals, chemicals, ships, fish

Partners: UK 27.2%, Netherlands 11.5%, Germany 11.1%, France 7.1%, Sweden 6.5%, US 5.6% (2011)

Government: Constitutional Monarchy.  Chief of State is King Harald V; Prime Minister is Jens Stoltenberg

Business: Incomes are very evenly distributed, making every person a consumer.  English is widely spoken, business agreements are reliable, and the infrastructure is first rate.  There are great opportunities for American business

Economic Highlights: Norway’s per capita GDP exceeds that of the US, estimated at more than USD 60,200 based on purchasing power parities. The Nordic region, with its one trillion dollar economy, is the 8th largest economy in the world.

Market Challenges:  Although Norway maintains a liberal trade regime with respect to industrial products, its agricultural sector remains highly protected, and the country uses high import tariffs to protect domestic commodities from foreign competition.  Justification for this is the importance of “non-trade concerns”, which include food security, environmental protection, rural employment and the maintenance of human settlement in sparsely-populated areas.  A small domestic market is also a challenge, but the country can serve as an attractive base for business operations in the Nordic, Baltic, and/or Western Russian markets.

Market Opportunities:   It is considered worldwide to be a test market for new products/technology and an easy-to-enter export market for new and new-to-export companies.  U.S. companies have excellent opportunities to capture a significant share of new contract awards in Norway’s oil and gas, information technologies and defense sectors.  Telecommunications equipment, healthcare technologies, shipping and maritime equipment and safety and security industries also offer export opportunities.

Specific opportunities include:

  • Oil and Gas:  drilling and well completion technology, LNG technology/gas value chain, technology facilitating remote/onshore, real-time operations
  • Green Technologies:  hydropower, wind power (particularly offshore), solar power and geothermal energy tech; quality insulation and building materials for green buildings, efficient windows, low maintenance heat exchangers, heat pumps and efficient burning furnaces, including pellets
  • Computers:  enterprise software, IT security, consumer market software
  • Shipping and Maritime Equipment
  • Healthcare-related technologies
  • Tourism:  growing interest in travel to “Norwegian America”
  • Agriculture:  processed and fresh fruit and vegetables, tree nuts and peanuts, non-hormone treated beef, wine and beer, sugar and sweeteners, pet food