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Norwegian exports of defence-related products in 2019

Today, the Government presented the annual white paper on exports of defence-related products. In 2019, Norwegian companies exported arms and military equipment worth around NOK 4.4 billion, as compared with NOK 4.8 billion in 2018. The total value of exports of defence-related products and services, technology and dual-use items for military use from Norway in 2019 was just under NOK 5.6 billion.

‘Norway maintains a higher level of transparency about defence-related exports than most countries. This applies to access to information both about the exports themselves and about the Ministry’s processing of export licence applications for defence-related products. The Government considers it important to continue to ensure this level of transparency,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.  

The value of exports of arms, ammunition and other military equipment was around NOK 4.4 billion in 2019, which is 8 % lower than in 2018. The export value of dual-use items for military use was NOK 739 million, which is a drop of 34 %. The total value of exports of defence-related services, repairs, production rights and brokering services was NOK 745 million, an increase of 44 %. Overall, exports of defence-related products and dual-use items for military use decreased by 11 %. If exports of defence-related services, repairs, production rights and brokering services are also included, the total decrease was 6 %. In 2019, 29 export licence applications were denied.   

The main importers of defence-related products from Norway are still other NATO countries, Sweden and Finland. In 2019, exports of arms and ammunition to these countries accounted for about 90 % of total defence-related exports. Exports of other military equipment to these countries accounted for 87 % of the total in 2019. There will be natural variations in the figures for specific years, depending on when deliveries take place. The deliveries may be unevenly distributed over the contract period and the export value will therefore vary from year to year.

The white paper gives a factual account of the Norwegian export control system and the multilateral cooperation arrangements Norway participates in. It also highlights the ‘catch-all’ clauses of the Export Control Regulations and control of intangible technology transfers, including knowledge transfers. Control of knowledge transfers is an issue that is high on the agenda of the international export control regimes.

‘Norway has strict regulations in place for exports of defence-related products. We follow a precautionary approach and have a low threshold for denying export licences,’ said Ms Eriksen Søreide.   

The white paper also describes the Ministry’s cooperation with other Norwegian authorities and the ongoing, extensive international cooperation on export control and non-proliferation. Norway participates actively in this cooperation, and is engaged both in the technical work to draw up lists of conventional defence-related products and dual-use items, and in the efforts to secure agreement on high international standards for control of exports of strategic goods and technology.  

‘The fact that, in many areas, the Norwegian defence industry is at the forefront internationally is important both in terms of our defence capabilities and for Norwegian jobs. The Government’s aim is to continue to ensure that conditions for defence-related exports are as predictable as possible within the framework of a clear and restrictive export control regime. We will seek to facilitate Norwegian companies’ participation in international projects, and to ensure that the conditions of competition are as equal as possible for companies in all the countries concerned. A long-term approach is therefore vital, and we must ensure that the export control regime is predictable,’ said the Foreign Minister.