Exporting to Norway

The fourth largest country in Europe, Norway is a part of the Nordic and Baltic region. It may have a population of only 5 million, but it’s one of the world’s wealthiest nations per capita

Norway is home to an incredibly well-established market and, as such, it has a sophisticated and trusted trading relationship with the UK. A well-developed and relatively affluent nation, Norway is always looking for high quality products and services.

Fact File

  • Population: 5.2 million
  • Capital City: Oslo
  • Languages: Norwegian, Sami
  • Currency: Norwegian Krone (NOK)
  • Area: 385,252 sq. km

According to a study by the World Bank in 2015, Norway is the 9th easiest country in the world to do business with. As a result, there are a number of ways that British businesses can benefit from exporting to Norway due to the country’s vast natural resources, its efficient business culture and its low levels of corruption.

Challenges for Trading with Norway

In spite of the many positives for trading with and exporting to Norway, there are also a couple of negatives. Firstly, Norway is not a member of the European Union, which may mean that some codes of conduct you’re used to dealing with are inapplicable. Having said that, Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (you may see this written as the EEA), which means it has the same trading code of practice as European Union nations.

In addition, there are some minor challenges regarding import and customs restrictions. These are outlined in the Overseas Business Risk Report published by the government.

Norway’s Economy

Norway’s economy is dominated by the offshore oil and gas sector. This accounts for 25% of value creation in the country, with crude oil, natural gas and electricity also accounting for 65% of exports. Although many countries are seeing their natural resource supplies dwindling, Norway’s remain strong, and it is expected that the country will have oil for the next 50 years and gas for the next 100 years.

At present, Norway is still trying to strengthen and develop a number of economic sectors, prioritising a number of areas which could make Norway a great place to export to. These include:

  • Oil and gas
  • Seafood
  • Timber and metal products
  • Telecommunications
  • Hydropower equipment

The UK’s top exports to Norway include:

  • Industrial and electrical machinery
  • Chemicals
  • Medicines and pharmaceuticals
  • Petroleum products
  • Animal and vegetable bi-products

Norway is the UK’s 23rd largest market and exports totalled £3.8 billion in 2014.

In addition to this, Norway is set for major investment in the coming years, which means that opportunities for UK companies exist in:

  • Field life extension
  • Enhanced/improved oil recovery technologies
  • Maintenance and modification work
  • Standardisation of solutions
  • Electrifications from shore
  • Renewable technologies
  • Energy efficiency
  • Smart technologies

The UK government have also created a list of other opportunities for UK businesses in Norway.

Tax and Customs Considerations

In Norway, the general rate of VAT is currently 25% and the basic corporate tax rate starts at 27%. There’s a reduced rate on the sale of food and only services that are explicitly mentioned in the VAT legislation are exempt from VAT.

Because Norway is a member of the EEA, free movement of goods is the general rule for exports. However, you must be aware that this is primarily applicable for industrial goods, and that only certain farm products and fish are included as part of this. For goods that are not part of this list, duties are levied in the same way that they would be for countries outside the EEA.

To ensure that the goods you export are done so with a reduced or zero rate of duty, you’ll need to accompany the goods with a EUR1 certificate. This must be endorsed by the issuing customs office.

For British products, import licences generally aren’t required. However, some goods do require a licence. These include:

  • Agricultural products
  • Textile items
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Fish nets
  • Raw materials

In addition, special certificates are required for some products, including:

  • Plants and plant parts (including fresh vegetable and fruit)
  • Live animals
  • Animal products (including pickled meat and milk products)
  • Seeds

Finally, sample goods with a value will need to be imported under an ATA Carnet.