More than 2,500 Swedish companies and subsidiaries are active on the Norwegian market. Our economic and cultural bond with Norway is further strengthened by the extensive cross-border trade. When both import and export of goods and services are taken into account, Norway is Sweden’s most important trade partner. Our main exports to Norway are services, machinery, motor vehicles, chemical products, furniture and telecommunication products.
valuable business opportunities
In recent years, the general demand for foreign goods and services has increased, especially through new e-commerce businesses. Norwegians are the most frequent online shoppers in the EU, which can be explained by a high disposable income and extensive purchasing power. Measured in GDP per capita, Norway belongs to the richest countries in the world. Besides retail, Swedish companies have valuable business opportunities within infrastructure, automation, environmental technology and the oil and gas sector.
high chances of success
Norway and Sweden collaborate closely in many ways, in large part thanks to our common history, cultural heritage and geographical proximity. Together with our strong economic ties and similar language, Swedish companies have excellent chances of establishing a successful business in Norway.
Similarities and differences
Despite all the similarities between the two countries, it is wise not to disregard the differences that do exist. As our Trade & Invest commissioner Jessica Olsson explains in the interview below, it is wise to familiarise yourself both with Norwegian culture and trade regulations. The fact that Norway is not part of the EU has implications for trade, and it is important to understand conditions regarding import duties, VAT regulations and local demands for physical establishment.
How we can help
Business Sweden has been active in Norway for more than 40 years. Our office in central Oslo provides advice and hands-on support for Swedish companies that need help to make the most of their business venture in Norway. We also have a team of business developers in Sweden, who can guide you through the early stages of your expansion in Norway.
Jessica OlssonTrade & Invest Commissioner Norway
What are the main advantages for expansion in Norway?
On a general level, it feels simple and natural for a Swedish company to expand to Norway as the first international market. Few countries are as close as Norway and Sweden, a relationship based on our common history, geographical proximity, similar language and strong economic ties. There are really no limitations in opportunities and there is a need for and interest in Swedish products in most sectors. A strong market creates opportunities for e-commerce and Norwegians are happy to buy IT services from Sweden. Opportunities also exist for solutions that meet the needs created by the green shift. It is true that "What works in Sweden often works in Norway" – we have similar buying preferences and Swedish brands are well-known by Norwegians.
What are the risks and challenges companies may face in Norway?
The main risk lies in the fact that companies do not prepare their export investment and that they do not get information about Norwegian legislation and regulations. Norway is not part of the EU and its customs and VAT union, and this affects how to handle VAT, taxes and customs when exporting to Norway. Establishment might therefore take slightly longer than expected and may be somewhat more expensive compared to other European countries. Business risk is thus created by believing that doing business with Norway is similar to doing business in Sweden.
Are there any cultural aspects to consider?
Despite many similarities, there are differences that should be taken into account. Norwegian organisations are more hierarchical than Swedish, and responsibility and decisions are more often made by the chief executive. If an executive manager is present, decisions can be made directly in a meeting. Norwegians value their free time, which affects working hours and availability. Norwegians are also often very up to date with what is going on in Sweden compared to Swedes' knowledge of Norway. For good business relations, a similar level of knowledge of Norway is recommended.