Foreign Direct Investment in Norway

Overview by

FDI in Figures

Norway encourages foreign investment and the investment climate is very positive. Even though foreign investment flows froze under the effect of the global recession, they should start to increase again with the revival.  Another major reason for which the country has lost some of its appeal is that the government owns a significant share in the oil industry.  Nevertheless, American and Dutch oil companies (Exxon-Mobil, Texaco, Royal Dutch Shell) have made important investments in Norway.  In general, the most attractive industries for FDI are oil, gas, manufacturing, the retail  and wholesale sectors and  banking.  Even though Norway's domestic market is very narrow, the country has many assets such as its location in the core of a flourishing area, its privileged ties with the United States, its population is high-qualified and multilingual, its economy is top-modern as well as its energy resources.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Norway OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 7.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 6.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 7.0 6.8 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 6.7 6.0 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

Foreign Direct Investment 200720082009
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 5,9407,9816,657
FDI Stock (million USD) 125,594109,432116,090
Performance Index*, Ranking on 141 Economies 12211086
Potential Index**, Ranking on 141 Economies 1012-
Number of Greenfield Investments*** 254530
FDI Inwards (in % of GFCF****) 6.98.311.8
FDI Stock (in % of GDP) 32.424.330.4

Source: UNCTAD

Note: * The UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index is Based on a Ratio of the Country's Share in Global FDI Inflows and its Share in Global GDP. ** The UNCTAD Inward FDI Potential Index is Based on 12 Economic and Structural Variables Such as GDP, Foreign Trade, FDI, Infrastructures, Energy Use, R&D, Education, Country Risk. *** Green Field Investments Are a Form of Foreign Direct Investment Where a Parent Company Starts a New Venture in a Foreign Country By Constructing New Operational Facilities From the Ground Up. **** Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) Measures the Value of Additions to Fixed Assets Purchased By Business, Government and Households Less Disposals of Fixed Assets Sold Off or Scrapped.

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Why You Should Choose to Invest in Norway

Strong Points
Norway has a very strong economy and positive prospects. The country is a world leader in information, with a both stable and transparent political environment. Norway has a well organized public sector and quality infrastructures. The population enjoys a high purchasing power and the business environment is stable and investments on the increase (even though dominated by the energy sector). Norway has a highly skilled labor force, which means there is great growth potential in services and knowledge based industries, such as information and communications technologies.
The best business opportunities are consumer goods, information and communications technologies, construction and corporate services.
Numerous contracts are awarded in Norwegian oil and gas projects. The domestic market is limited, but Norway can be an attractive business base for market operations in the Nordic countries, Baltic countries and Western Russia.
Weak Points
Norway's economy is dependent on the price of oil. Norway is already past the peak of its oil production.
The fact of the geographical isolation of some parts of the country, the expenses in the areas of transport, logistics, and telecommunication infrastructures are very high.
Lastly, the country has implemented relatively strict laws in the area of employment. The country also has extremely high salary costs.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
The government maintains an open position towards foreign investment in Norway. Norway offers no significant tax incentives for investors (whether foreign or domestic). Some benefits such as lower social security payments, lower tax rates and extra deductions for individuals, apply to investments made in the less populated areas in the north of Norway. Some existing regulations, standards and practices may marginally favor Norwegian, Scandinavian or EEA investors.

Innovation Norway is a government agency designed to assist businesses by offering financing through Norwegian Industrial and Research Development Contracts.

Special restrictions apply in the following sectors:
- Acquisition of waterfalls, power supply rights and mining rights;
- Acquisition of land, real estate and long term leases;
- Acquisition of farmland and forests;
- The purchase of over 10 % of the capital stock of a Norwegian financial institution;
- Direct investments in petroleum exploration and exploitation are subject to a government license.

Regarding the financial crisis, fiscal policy has been very strong so far. However, because of the the losses suffered by the pension fund in 2009, the government remains cautious.

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Norway
Norway has signed bilateral investment treaties with several countries. A list can be found here.

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Acquisition of Holdings
A majority holding in a Norwegian company is legal.
Obligation to Declare
No specific text of law regulates foreign direct investments.
Competent Organization For the Declaration
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Trade and Industry
Requests For Specific Authorizations
Following sectors require specific authorization:
- Acquisition of waterfalls, power supply rights and mining rights.
- Acquisition of land, real estate and long term leases.
- Acquisition of farmland and forests
- Purchasing over 10 % of the share capital of a Norwegian financial institution.
- Direct investments in petroleum exploration and exploitation are subject to a government licence

If an investment requires a permit, the applicant should contact the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Find Investment Service Providers in Norway on

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
Information about financing and support is available at
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Ehandel, Public Procurement portal
Tenders Info, Tenders in Norway
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Other Useful Resources
Oslo Chamber of Commerce
Innovation Norway
Kvasir Business Search Engine (in Norwegian).
Nortrade - Official Norwegian Trade Portal
Business Guide to Oslo Region Business Center

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