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Last updated : Nov 2009
Norway Business
Norway Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com

The Norwegian economy is dominated by the oil and gas industry, which accounts for nearly 20 per cent of GDP and 60 per cent of export earnings.

In Norway there is little cultivable land, however many farmers breed livestock, combining this with forestry to supply Norway’s numerous sawmills. Wood products and paper are both thriving industries in the country.

Offshore fishing has been in decline for some time, although a large number of fish farms have now been established, making Norway by far the world’s largest supplier of salmon.

Heavy engineering industries, principally shipbuilding and machinery, have also declined. Nonetheless, the country has sustained its economic prosperity outside the European Union through development of a strong energy sector. Norway has abundant hydroelectric resources: the development of these has allowed much-reduced overheads for heavy industries such as aluminium production while freeing oil and gas products for export.

Norway has been a major oil and gas exporter since the 1970s, after discovering large deposits of both in the North Sea. Proven oil reserves are approximately 11 billion barrels (one-tenth of Saudi reserves and 1 per cent of the world total). Much of the income is invested in a fund, which is now worth over US$40 billion, for such time (perhaps for 15-20 years) as the oil and gas last.

The country also has deposits of various iron ores plus copper, lead and zinc, which feed the country’s metallurgical and chemical industries. During the last few years Norway has seen the emergence of advanced technological industries.

The UK, Germany and Sweden are Norway’s main trading partners. Norway is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and hence the so-called ‘European Economic Area’, which is an amalgam of EU and EFTA members united in a free-trade zone and created during 1991. Concern about the possible effects on the fishing and farming industries lay behind the Norwegians’ decision – registered in 2 referendums, in 1973 and 1994 – to reject EU membership. Nonetheless, with the exception of these two industries, Norway enjoys a liberalised trade regime with EU members, and conducts 70 per cent of its trade with the EU. Recent economic performance has been a little sluggish. Growth barely reached 1 per cent during 2001 and 2002. Inflation and unemployment during 2002 were 1.3 and 4 per cent respectively.

Business Etiquette

Businesspeople tend to dress smartly. Prior appointments are necessary and Norwegian businesspeople can be reserved and formal. English is widely spoken in Norway and punctuality is essential. Calling cards are very common. The best months for visits on business are February to May and October to December.

Office hours: Monday-Friday 0800-1600 hrs.

Commercial Information

The following organisation can offer advice:

Innovation Norway
Drammensveien 40
0104 Oslo

Telephone number: (22) 002 500
Fax number: (22) 002 501
Website: www.ntc.no

Innovation Norway
5th Floor
Charles House
5 Lower Regent Street

Telephone number: (020) 7389 8800
Fax number: (020) 7973 0189
e-mail: london@ntc.no
Website: www.norway.org.uk


Information is available from the Norwegian Tourist Board.