Norway Trade and Foreign Investment

By | July 24, 2022


  • Business Relationships
  • Foreign direct investment
  • FTAs ​​and Treaties
  • Development Cooperation
  • Prospective fields of study (MOP)

Business relations

Trade relations with the EU

For Norway, the EU is the primary market, where three fifths of Norwegian exports go and where more than half of imports come from. Considering the large amount of exported natural gas and other products of the petroleum industry, Norway maintains a significantly positive trade balance in relation to the EU. Due to lower demand for these products from the EU as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a significant drop in the value of exports from Norway to the EU only in 2020. Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and France have a leading position in trade with EU countries. The second largest market is Asia, dominated by China. In 2021, Norway’s largest trading partners in terms of total turnover were Germany, Sweden, China, the Netherlands, the USA and Great Britain.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from the EU (million EUR) 52,845.7 50,007.1 51,565.9 48,599.8 46,621.8
Imports into the EU (million EUR) 57 194.2 60,981.7 54,135.0 42,268.4 83,463.8
Balance with the EU (million EUR) 4,348.5 10,974.6 2,569.1 -6,331.4 36,842

Source: European Commission

Trade relations with the Czech Republic

Since 2004, trade relations between the Czech Republic and Norway have been regulated within the EEA Agreement between the EU countries and the EFTA countries. The Czech Republic and Norway also concluded an agreement on the support and protection of investments. According to trade exchange statistics for the year 2021, Norway is the 26th most important trading partner in terms of the total value of exports of goods and services from the Czech Republic, and it is in 43rd place in terms of imports to the Czech Republic. Czech exports to Norway are dominated by road vehicles, machinery, iron and steel products and electronic devices. Conversely, aluminum and fish products are mainly imported from Norway to the Czech Republic.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 6.3 18.9 19.8 18.4 23.1
Imports to the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 18.2 6.3 8.5 9.6 9.8
Balance with the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 12 -12.6 -11.3 -8.8 -13.3


Trade relations with countries outside the EU

About two-fifths of Norway’s exports go to countries outside the EU, and less than half of its imports come from there. Norway’s three most important trading partners outside the EU are Great Britain, followed by China and the USA at a considerable distance. The positive trade balance is primarily ensured by the export of oil and natural gas to Great Britain.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from countries outside the EU (million EUR) 16,961.4 22,451.8 25,742.2 29,414.2 39,762.1
Imports to countries outside the EU (million EUR) 30,901.8 41,053.3 39,252.3 37 124.4 57,081.6
Balance with non-EU countries (million EUR) 13,940.4 18,601.5 13,510.1 7,710.2 17,319.5

Source: Statistics Norway (

Foreign direct investment

Thanks to its high literacy rate, material wealth, low crime rate and free access to education, Norway has long been a leader in the Human Development Index. At the same time, it also regularly ranks in the top ten out of 189 countries in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” ranking. Although Norway is not a member of the EU, it is fully integrated into the European single market through the EEA Agreement and the Schengen Agreement. The combination of all these factors makes Norway an interesting environment for foreign investors. This is also reflected in the numbers. The total volume of FDI in Norway for the year 2020 was approximately NOK 1,450,000 million (approximately CZK 3,625,000 million), 75% of which was made up of investments from European countries and 13% from North and Central American countries. The largest share is represented by investments from neighboring Sweden, followed by the USA, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Denmark. FDI is most often directed to the extraction of mineral resources, the financial sector, manufacturing and the automotive industry. These four areas account for more than half of all FDI in Norway.

According to the available data of CzechInvest, no Czech companies are currently investing in Norway.

FTAs and treaties

Treaties with the EU

Norway’s association with the EU through the EEA Agreement and several other treaties is a key element of Norway’s economy and trade policy. The country has guaranteed access to the European market, on the other hand, the government reserves the right to protect Norwegian interests, while refusing to accept some of the problematic directives (audiovisual directive, safety of off-shore mining, the so-called third postal directive or the so-called fourth railway package). In cases of conflict of national interests, Norway seeks national exemptions or special treatment. The focus of trade cooperation is energy, which elevates the EU-Norway partnership to a strategic level (Norway accounts for about 25% of oil and gas imports into the EU). Aware of its economic strength and position as an important supplier of energy raw materials, Norway approaches the Union as a completely equal partner. The government’s goal is to continue to be a reliable supplier of natural gas, thereby contributing greatly to reducing emissions in Europe. The largest European consumers of natural gas are Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and France. As part of fulfilling the commitment to gradually liberalize mutual trade in agricultural products resulting from the Treaty on the European Economic Area (EEA), the EU and Norway agreed in 2018 to deepen mutual trade with selected types of agricultural products.

Contracts with the Czech Republic

Since 2004, trade relations between the Czech Republic and Norway have been regulated within the EEA Agreement between the EU countries and the EFTA countries. The Czech Republic and Norway concluded bilateral agreements, for example, on the promotion and protection of investments (1992), on mutual assistance in customs matters (1999) or on the prevention of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion in the field of income taxes (2005), and a Memorandum on understanding of the implementation of the EEA financial mechanism within individual time-bound program periods.

Developmental cooperation

The Czech Republic and Norway do not provide each other with any development or technical assistance. For the period 2014-2021, the amount of EUR 9million from the EEA Funds and EUR 89 million from the Norwegian Funds is reserved for the Czech Republic. The main program areas are research and education, youth entrepreneurship support, civil society development, non-discrimination and social inclusion, health education, environmental protection, cultural heritage care and bilateral cooperation projects between police forces and prison services. Currently, the financing of projects within the current program period (until 2024) is running out, and the discussion of priorities for the coming period is beginning.

Prospective fields of study (MOP)

Transport industry and infrastructure

The development of road and railway infrastructure, especially in more remote areas, is a priority of the new government. This involves both the construction of new sections and the modernization of existing ones, often in challenging terrain and climatic conditions, which requires, among other things, the construction of many bridges and tunnels. This will be linked to the general effort to green transport. In 2022, the government expects to invest in road and railway infrastructure in the amount of approximately CZK 125 billion. Czech entities are offered the opportunity to supply important construction components (bridges, structures, stamping machines, etc.) or construction technologies.

Mining, mining and oil industry

The oil sector remains the backbone of the Norwegian economy – it accounts for roughly 15% of the local GDP. At the same time, more than half of Norway’s commercially usable oil and natural gas reserves remain unexploited. The new government has announced that it will continue to open up more areas for exploration and mining in the coming years. The construction of new mining facilities provides opportunities for the metals industry.

Energy industry

Although Norway is not a member of the EU, it has accepted the EU’s climate commitments, so it wants to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990. It is therefore increasingly emphasizing the domestic consumption of clean electricity (e.g. hydroelectric power stations provide over 90% of the production of all electricity energy in the country). Along with this, interest in investing in small hydroelectric plants, wind turbines, transformers and electrical energy storage will grow. Support for projects for the commercial use of hydrogen and for the development of CO₂ capture and storage technologies will continue.

Agricultural and food industry

Norway is currently among the world’s ten largest producers of farmed fish and ranks among the three most important global exporters of products from the aquaculture industry. The value of farmed fish exported reaches up to 180 billion CZK per year and is almost three quarters of the total value created by the Norwegian fishing sector. In view of the growing global popularity of the consumption of fish products, aquaculture in Norway has great potential for further development and will create a number of opportunities in the field of biotechnology, automation and for building infrastructure.

Healthcare and pharmaceutical industry

Maintaining high quality and expanding the availability of health services even in more remote regions is one of the most important priorities of the new government. This is also why the Norwegian healthcare system will receive a total of approx. 440 billion CZK from the state in 2022. The costs of this sector have been increasing in recent years, and not only because of the pandemic. The modernization of existing facilities and the construction of new facilities entails a significant demand for the supply of their equipment, including medical instruments and medical aids.

Norway Trade