Exporting to Norway

UK is Norway’s largest trading partner. Total trade between the 2 countries was worth £26.3 billion in 2019. Norway supplies 40% of the UK’s energy needs and 48.8% of the UK’s exports to Norway are services (Office for National Statistics, 2020).

Consumer market

Norwegians are keen on British brands and products. They have high spending power, expect quality, well-packed and competitively priced products. The market is technologically and digitally advanced and there is a growing interest in responsible consumption and healthy sustainable products. Norwegians are early adopters of technology.

Business environment

Norway is ranked 9th in the world for ease of doing business (World Bank, 2019). It has a pro-British business environment and a transparent, egalitarian society with flat business structure.

Proximity, ease of business

Norway is one of the UK’s closest neighbours. It can be reached in a 2-hour flight. English is widely spoken, and Norwegians are comfortable with UK culture.

Ease of doing business

9th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2019)

Currency

Norwegian krone

Business language

English is widely spoken

GDP per capita

$81,690

UK is $42,558 (IMF, 2018)

Economic growth

1.3%

(IMF, 2018)

Time zone

GMT +1

Opportunities for exporters

There is a demand for UK-manufactured products and services across many sectors in Norway. This includes products and services for oil and gas, vehicles and finance. There is also demand for medical and pharmaceutical products, and a wide range of consumer goods.

Doing business in Norway

Preparing to export

Taxes and duties

Foreign businesses operating in Norway must comply with Norwegian VAT rules and be VAT registered if sales or withdrawals liable for VAT exceed 50,000 kroner over 12 months.

There are essentially 3 types of taxes on the import of goods from abroad – customs duty, VAT, and special taxes. What a Norwegian customer or consumer must pay or report to the tax authorities depends on the type of goods and where they come from.

VAT rate (2020) in Norway is 25%, exemptions include:

  • 15% food/drink
  • 12% certain cultural and sporting activities
  • 11.11% supply of raw fish

Source and for further information on customs duties, VAT and special taxes can be found on:

Regulation

The Norwegian Standards Authority is responsible for standardisation, certification and assessment of product standards. Norway has adopted the EU’s CE mark on some products sold in the EU

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority, Mattilsynet is responsible for regulating:

  • Food and water
  • Animals
  • Fish and Aquaculture
  • Cosmetics
  • Plants

Direktoratet for Byggkvalitet is responsible for building regulations.

Intellectual property

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

All trademark and patent applications for Norway must be registered with Norway’s Patent Office Patentstyret.

Operating in Norway

Norway is a sophisticated, established market with a long, trusted trading relationship with the UK. It has an educated, technologically advanced society looking for high-quality products and services. Regular meetings/visits are important to build relationships with customers. The market is competitive, and a strong unique selling point is essential.

Routes to market

Having local Norwegian speaking representatives and local knowledge is necessary in certain sectors:

  • Importer/distributors/agents – are necessary in many sectors including food/drink, security, sales to public sector (where procurement is by tender), industrial supply chains
  • Direct sales – possible, more normal for services

Payment terms

Norwegian companies are used to dealing in GBP, EUR and NOK. Payment terms are often (but not always) 21-28 days.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.