Doing Business with Norway
|Language||Norwegian (in Bokmål and Nynorsk versions)|
|Religion||members of the Church of Norway (69%), no religion (19%), Catholic (7%), Muslim (3%), other (2%)|
|State system||constitutional monarchy|
|Head of State||Harald V.|
|Head of government||Jonas Gahr Støre|
|Currency name||Norwegian krone (NOK)|
|Time shift||without time shift|
|Nominal GDP (billion USD)||361.4|
|Economic growth (%)||4.1|
Norway is a Scandinavian country, independent since 1905. Its area is four times larger than the Czech Republic (385,178 km2) and, in addition to the continental part of the country, it also includes the Svalbard Islands (Svalbard) and the uninhabited islands of Jan Mayen in the North Atlantic, Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic and Peter I Island near Antarctica. Norway is a developed country that has a significant profile on the international scene, whether through membership in international organizations, direct engagement (the role of mediator in finding solutions to many different international conflicts) or in the form of generous foreign development aid (permanently around 1% of GDP). Norway is a member of the UN and its agencies, NATO, EAPC, OSCE, Council of Europe, OECD, WTO, IMF, EFTA, ASEM, Nordic Council, Arctic Council, Council of States of the Baltic Sea Region, Barents Sea Council, Interpol, Intersat, Inmarsat, etc. The foundation of Norway’s foreign policy orientation is transatlantic ties anchored by membership in NATO and close association with the EU through the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA). The biggest foreign policy priority is the Far North, Nordic cooperation and the cultivation of relations with the EU and the USA.
Norway is also among the world leaders in the environmental field and in meeting the goals of sustainable development. In recent years, foreign trade policy has been more oriented towards the rapidly developing countries of the so-called BRIC group and Asian countries. Norway is a developed industrial country with great natural wealth. It is the second largest European exporter of oil and natural gas and an important supplier of electrical steel and aluminum. It covers the energy demand of these industries by producing cheap and ecological electricity, 90% of which comes from hydropower plants and the remaining 10% from wind and geothermal energy. The engineering, shipbuilding, petrochemical, wood processing and food industries have a significant position in the national economy. Fishing and fish processing are also of great importance. The Norwegian shipping fleet, both cargo and fishing, is one of the largest in the world.
The pandemic has significantly affected a large part of the service sector, construction and tourism. During 2021, the Norwegian economy has already returned to a growth trajectory (4%), and a similarly optimistic outlook is expected for 2022. As part of economic recovery, the government intends to advance its long-term efforts to diversify the national economy, which is still heavily dependent on revenues from the petroleum industry. In the short term, priority will be given to the development of transport, energy and telecommunications infrastructure and investment in human capital. In the longer term, the structure of the Norwegian economy should be transformed to better reflect the government’s high climate ambitions. Fast-growing sectors in Norway will include aquaculture, energy with an emphasis on renewable sources and low-emission solutions, technological innovation, digitization, marine economy, transport infrastructure, defense or mining of underwater minerals. Opportunities for establishing cooperation between Czech and Norwegian entities still exist within the EEA/Norway funds. New opportunities to establish business and investment relations with Norwegian entities are also offered by the increasingly financially supported development of the Arctic regions of Norway by the government, especially with the aim of stimulating the development of transport, energy and health infrastructure, strengthening rescue capacities and capabilities in the area, including security against landslides and avalanches.
Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)
Norway’s international dialing code: +47
Medical emergency service: 113
Fire service: 110
Universal infoline for contacts of natural and legal persons: 1881
Medical emergency in Oslo: 116 117
Dental emergency in Oslo: 2267 3000
Towing service: 9870 2222 (Falck), 2321 3100 (NAF), 2208 6000 (Viking)
Important web links and contacts
- Portal of the government and ministries
- Parliament (Storting)
- Collection of laws and legal regulations
- Business Register
- Central Bank
- Statistical Office
- Tax Office
- Customs office
- Aliens and Immigration Office
- Office for the Protection of Intellectual Property
- Oslo Stock Exchange
- Guide to doing business in Norway
- Association of Norwegian Trade and Industry
- Oslo Chamber of Commerce
- Norwegian export database
- Digital portal of public administration and services
- Database of companies and suppliers
- Petroleum Industry Directorate
- Public procurement portal
- State Investment Agency
- Export financing
- Norwegian Maritime Authority and Ship Register
- Foreign development cooperation
- Fairs and exhibitions in the Oslo metropolitan area
- Labor market portal
- Information for foreign visitors to Norway
- Directorate of Roads
- Weather information
- Embassy of Norway in the Czech Republic
PaulSourcing: Ten Commandments for doing business with Norway
The PaulSourcing agency has prepared ten recommendations for doing business with Norway for Czech entrepreneurs interested in business relations with Norway. In 2020, it was supplemented with 4 current tips.
4 recommendations for entering the Norwegian market during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Search for business partnersYou can operate on the Norwegian market independently or through business partners or distributors. Having a business partner in Norway is usually an advantage, but of course it is possible to serve the market directly if you have the capacity to do so.Finding business partners or opportunities is not easy. Although most websites have an English version, on the other hand, there is no comprehensive database of contacts where they can be easily found. The help of PaulSourcing’s foreign office in Stockholm (ZK Stockholm) can therefore be beneficial in this step – it has an overview of the market, experience in searching and, in addition to Google and LinkedIn, it also has its own database of contacts, accumulated over the years of the office’s existence.
- Choosing a partnerChoosing a business partner is important. After compiling a list of maximum possible contacts, it is good to ask yourself the question: who is the right partner for me? The best thing to do is to draw on your experience from other export markets. In general, it can be said that what works in other Western European countries can also work in Norway. If experience from other European countries is lacking, it is good to focus on medium and small businesses. Large companies in Norway have high demands both on the quality of goods or services and on references.
- Norway as part of EuropeAre you worried that Norway is not a member of the European Union? Not fundamentally, because Norway is almost an integral part of Europe and there are trade agreements between the EU and Norway, including a customs union. Therefore, you will not have any particularly greater problems or costs at the entrance compared to trading within the EU. However, expect an investment in the development of activities and also a lower price compared to the competition, especially in the first year of business. The local market is demanding, and it is difficult to stand out against tough local and foreign competition. Share these costs with your Norwegian business partner, but at the same time don’t forget to motivate him with favorable margins.
- Support of the PaulSourcing foreign office The PaulSourcingoffice for Scandinavia is based in Stockholm. Therefore, it is not permanently present in Norway and cannot be your extended arm while you build your business in this country. However, her credo is not to provide you with a list of companies and not to take care of you anymore, but if you decide to try your luck in the Norwegian market, you can contact her at any time. ZK Stockholm also works closely with the commercial section of the embassy in Oslo.
The Ten Commandments for Trading with Norway
- Don’t be afraid to enter NorwayNorway is not a member of the European Union, but trade with it is simplified by international agreements with the EU, including duty-free imports for most products.
- Plan business meetings earlyPlan meetings in Norway at least two weeks in advance and confirm by email. Meetings are usually not arranged before nine in the morning and after 4 p.m., free time and work are separated.
- Tune in to the informal atmosphereIn Norway, people are called by their first names, adapt. A suit and tie is not required for the meeting, the requirement is overall neatness of the exterior.
- You can’t do without EnglishIn Norway, English is used as a business language, so your promotional materials and website should be available in English.
- Prepare thoroughly for the meeting Prepare thoroughlyfor the meeting. Give truthful information backed by facts and figures, your words will be taken seriously. It is important to know clearly what the goal of your action should be.
- Adopt the Norwegian way of decision-making Decision-making in Norway is done collectively, opinions are taken into account regardless of company hierarchy. Norwegians analyze everything carefully, do not rush to the result and be patient.
- CommunicateShow respect and listen well. Be polite and cultured. Norwegian business partners are reliable and fair, be honest and open too, it will pay off.
- Avoid conflictsNorwegians try to avoid open conflicts if they arise, solve them through communication and negotiation, and it can take a long time to reach a compromise.
- You build trustwith references References are of significant value. It is not easy to build business relationships in Norway, but if it is successful, it is a quality and stable partnership.
- Cheapest does not mean bestNorway is a highly concentrated market with a large purchasing power. High quality is a prerequisite for success, and will often decide more than just price.