Press release | Date: 2015-05-29 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
‘Norway is a trading nation. Few countries are more dependent on foreign trade than we are. Today, the Government is presenting a white paper on its work to secure increased market access for Norwegian companies and better predictability for exports of goods and services and for investments,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The Government will work to promote freer trade and will pursue a proactive trade policy that emphasises Norway’s interests. This means helping to ensure fair and equal trade rules in today’s open, global economy.
‘The World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, the EEA Agreement and the EFTA free trade agreements are the cornerstones of Norwegian trade policy. Safeguarding and strengthening the multilateral trade system is Norway’s main trade policy interest,’ Foreign Minister Brende said.
Trade policy is primarily a tool for promoting value creation and employment in Norway. At the same time, the white paper points out that international trade can help us to reach foreign and development policy goals such as peaceful cooperation between countries and better opportunities for inclusive, sustainable development for all.
However, as highlighted in the white paper, the marked increase in regional initiatives and negotiations in recent years, partly in response to a lack of progress in the WTO, presents challenges for Norway. Extensive negotiations are being conducted to establish trade agreements across both the Pacific and the Atlantic, but Norway is not party to these negotiations and has limited opportunities to influence the course of events. Moreover, Norway lacks free trade agreements with six of the world’s ten largest economies.
‘This white paper presents Norwegian trade policy priorities in a changing global economy. In order to ensure the strength of the economy, we need to make active use of the opportunities in existing trade agreements. We also need to negotiate more and better agreements along several tracks, but firmly rooted in the multilateral trading system,’ Mr Brende said.
As outlined in the white paper, the Government will:
- Intensify its efforts to make active use of trade policy in its strengthened economic diplomacy work.
- Give greater priority to the work to ensure free trade in seafood on the EU market.
- Phase out all export subsidies, at the latest by the end of 2019.
- Continue Norway’s established practice of not using commercially-based restrictive trade measures.
- Seek to safeguard Norway’s overall interests while the TTIP negotiations between the EU and the US are being conducted, and emphasise the Norwegian business sector’s need for equal conditions of competition.
- Consider changes that would give further trade preferences to poor developing countries that export goods and services to Norway.
- Increase support for trade-related development cooperation, also in connection with free trade agreements.