Agreement between the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Innovation Norway

Published under: Bondevik's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

1 January 2004

Agreement between the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Innovation Norway

Chapter 1 – Introductory Provisions

Article 1. Parties to the agreement

The parties to this agreement are the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs [Utenriksdepartementet] and Innovation Norway [Innovasjon Norge] (the company).

Article 2. Purpose and scope of the agreement

This agreement governs the co-operation between the foreign service and Innovation Norway on co-ordinating efforts to promote Norwegian trade and industry abroad. The co-operation shall take place in accordance with Innovation Norway’s mandate and with Norwegian legislation, the Foreign Service Instructions and Norway’s international obligations.

The parties’ common objective is to strengthen innovation and internationalisation in Norwegian trade and industry, international technological co-operation and promotion and marketing of Norway as a tourist destination, and to contribute to increased foreign investment in Norway. The primary objective is to strengthen business and industry in Norway.

In order to ensure optimal co-ordination, a uniform, easily accessible and customer-oriented user interface, and the strongest possible presence abroad, Innovation Norway’s activities abroad shall be integrated into the foreign service. The parties’ aim is to offer enterprises and co-operation partners a seamless facility both nationally and internationally.

The board of Innovation Norway adopts the strategic, resource-related, geographical and commercial priorities for the company’s internationalisation efforts and activities abroad.

The parties intend to employ proactive and simple working methods in their contact with enterprises and co-operation partners. The parties shall co-operate on promoting the company’s international profile.

The Head of Mission shall have overall responsibility for the integration and for promoting trade and industry in general at the mission. The Head of Mission shall also give priority to this field.

Chapter 2 – Integration and organisation of the co-operation

Article 3. The company’s representatives and local employees abroad

Innovation Norway determines in which foreign markets the company is to have representatives and how many offices the company is to have abroad at any given time.

Innovation Norway also determines its need for local employees abroad with the aim of achieving a reasonable balance between specialised and support personnel at each mission.

Article 4. Integration

Innovation Norway’s personnel and offices abroad shall be integrated into the foreign service and notified to the host country if accepted by the host country authorities.

In places where Innovation Norway is not represented by its own personnel, the local foreign service mission shall represent the company.

Article 5. Co-location

The integration referred to in Article 4 shall be implemented by means of physical co-location where possible. In cases where physical co-location cannot be implemented immediately, this shall be done as soon as conditions so permit. When assessing this question, account shall be taken of practical, economic and commercial factors and the suitability of the premises.

Even in cases where physical co-location has not been implemented, the company’s office shall constitute an integrated part of the foreign service mission concerned, which shall be responsible for administration and operations as soon as conditions so permit.

If the host country does not accept notification of Innovation Norway’s office as part of the foreign service mission in cities where both parties are represented, the company’s office shall not constitute an integrated part of the foreign service. In such cases, Innovation Norway shall be responsible for running the office.

Article 6. Location in a different city

In cities where there is no foreign service mission, Innovation Norway may have its own office where this is in the interest of trade and industry. The office shall be integrated into the foreign service in accordance with Articles 4 and 5.

If the host country does not accept notification of such an office as part of the foreign service mission, the office shall not constitute an integrated part of the foreign service. In such cases, Innovation Norway shall be responsible for running the office.

Article 7. Co-ordination

In cases where Innovation Norway has offices that are not integrated pursuant to Articles 5 and 6, the offices shall co-ordinate their activities with the respective foreign service missions.

Article 8. Organisation of efforts to promote trade and industry at foreign service missions

Efforts to promote trade and industry at foreign service missions shall be organised with a view to user friendliness and accessibility for enterprises and co-operation partners. Provision shall be made for maintaining activities in the event of absence, for example in connection with holidays, business travel, sickness and leave.

A special representative or qualified local employee financed by Innovation Norway shall head the foreign service mission’s efforts to promote trade and industry and shall serve as the Head of Mission’s main adviser in this field.

Efforts to promote trade and industry may be organised in a separate unit at the foreign service mission where this is expedient. All special envoys and local employees at the mission who are financed by Innovation Norway shall be included in the unit.

In relation to the host country authorities, all the personnel at a foreign service mission, including special representatives and local employees financed by Innovation Norway, constitute a unit for which the Head of Mission is responsible.

Innovation Norway may decide to delegate regional responsibility to one of its special envoys.

At foreign service missions where Innovation Norway is not represented, the mission shall organise its work with a view to achieving the objectives of this agreement.

Article 9. Separately organised activities

The parties may together facilitate activities to promote trade and industry outside the foreign service mission. By activities to promote trade and industry is meant organisational structures, measures, campaigns, etc., that help to promote Innovation Norway’s objectives.

Article 10. Establishment or termination of representation abroad

In cases where there are plans to establish, terminate, or make staffing or other changes in Innovation Norway’s representation abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall be consulted in good time before a decision is made.

Any planned changes in foreign service missions that are expected to have particular consequences for the company’s activities shall be submitted to Innovation Norway for comment.

Chapter 3 – Employment and Notification

Article 11. Employment as a special representative

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will give Innovation Norway’s representatives temporary employment as special envoys. The terms of employment and working conditions are governed by the Foreign Service Instructions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ personnel regulations and other provisions applicable to the public sector. The period of employment may not exceed four years.

Article 12. Procedure for recruitment of special envoys

Special envoys who are to be financed by Innovation Norway are employed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in accordance with the rules governing public-sector employment. Employment is given on the basis of recommendations from Innovation Norway.

Article 13. Employment of local employees

Local employees financed by Innovation Norway are employed by the foreign service mission concerned on the recommendation of Innovation Norway. The terms of employment and salary for local employees are to be in line with those for comparable positions in the country concerned.

The mission shall submit cases concerning suspension, termination or dismissal of local employees to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before a decision is taken.

Article 14. Notification

Special envoys are notified by the foreign service mission as counsellors, attachés, consuls, vice-consuls or members of the technical/administrative staff. The envoy’s professional experience, background and position at the foreign service mission will be decisive in determining the specific title to be notified.

Article 15. Job description

Job descriptions for special envoys and local employees financed by Innovation Norway shall be drawn up on the basis of proposals from the company.

The parties shall together draw up a standard description of tasks under this agreement at foreign service missions that do not have personnel financed by Innovation Norway.

Chapter 4 – Administrative matters

Article 16. Administrative affiliation

Administratively, special envoys and local employees come under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Article 17. Authority to issue instructions

Innovation Norway may issue instructions on matters within its expertise to Heads of Missions, a copy of which is to be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Special envoys and local employees who are financed by Innovation Norway are subject to the company’s instructions in matters within its expertise. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the management of the mission shall be kept informed of Innovation Norway’s instructions at all times.

Article 18. Correspondence

Innovation Norway’s special envoys correspond directly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on administrative matters that are not dealt with at the foreign service mission in question. Innovation Norway shall, within the limits of the statutory duty of confidentiality, be kept informed of matters that are of significance for the implementation of this agreement.

Innovation Norway’s special envoys correspond directly with the company on matters within the latter’s expertise. The Head of Mission shall be kept informed of such correspondence.

The special envoy’s correspondence on matters of principle or concerning foreign policy shall be sent via the mission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with any comments by the Head of Mission.

Special envoys correspond directly with public authorities other than those specified above, private institutions and enterprises and private individuals. The management of the mission shall be kept informed of all correspondence of this kind and other correspondence.

If the special envoy’s sphere of responsibility includes more than one country, he/she shall send copies of all important reports and correspondence to the foreign service mission to which the report relates.

Article 19. Work plans

The foreign service uses work plans as a management tool for ensuring the expedient use of resources. The work plans are used as a basis for determining the missions’ operating budgets.

The work plans shall be in keeping with the objectives set out in this agreement and Innovation Norway’s strategic and commercial priorities. Those parts of the missions’ work plans that concern co-operation under this agreement in the field of trade and industry shall be drawn up in co-operation with Innovation Norway.

Article 20. Training and professional development

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Innovation Norway shall co-operate on training and professional development activities for personnel whose work involves realising the objectives set out in this agreement.

Innovation Norway shall be responsible for training in matters within its expertise. The foreign service shall be responsible for training in administrative, diplomatic and consular matters in connection with service at a foreign service mission.

The parties shall co-operate on exchanges and working visits for employees under this agreement.

Article 21. IT and communications

The parties shall ensure that their IT systems are mutually accessible. The aim is to achieve a uniform external user interface, and to ensure that the foreign service missions have the necessary working equipment for realising the objectives set out in this agreement in the best possible way.

Employees at foreign service missions who are financed by Innovation Norway shall insofar as possible be connected to the foreign service’s internal computer network. Employees at foreign service missions who carry out tasks for the business sector under this agreement shall insofar as possible have access to the company’s IT solutions. Such access shall be established in accordance with the parties’ security policies.

The management of the mission shall have access to the same information as special envoys and local employees financed by Innovation Norway.

The parties shall consult each other on any future advances in the field of IT and communications that may be of significance for the integration of IT and information solutions, and for the possibility of using IT as a tool to promote the objectives set out in this agreement.

Article 22. Archives

The archives at integrated missions are to be kept in accordance with existing statutes and regulations governing public archives.

In places where Innovation Norway’s office is not integrated into a foreign service mission, Innovation Norway is responsible for the archives.

Chapter 5 – Financial matters

Article 23. Financing of Innovation Norway’s activities at foreign service missions

The parties agree that the provisions of the agreement governing financial matters shall be based on the following principles:

The parties will seek to ensure that there is a correlation between the total services performed and the funds transferred.

Innovation Norway’s personnel and offices abroad shall be financed by means of funds transferred from the company to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cf. Proposition No. 51 (2002-2003) to the Storting, Chap. 6.2.6.

The company shall cover the costs relating to all special envoys and local employees financed by Innovation Norway at foreign service missions, as well as a share of the missions’ operating costs.

The parties shall negotiate coverage of the costs relating to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ increased administrative needs as a result of the integration.

The amount transferred will be price/exchange-rate adjusted once a year based on the Ministry of Finance’s price/exchange rate model.

Innovation Norway shall cover any increased costs as a result of official pay settlements for the special envoys financed by the company.

The size of the annual transfer will be adjusted if there are any changes in the activities carried out abroad.

The costs to be covered by Innovation Norway are to be calculated on the basis of available models in order to reduce the need for administrative resources. The same economic model is used for Innovation Norway’s special envoys as for other special envoys in the foreign service. Housing expenses are reimbursed in accordance with the foreign service rates for the category of employee concerned.

In the case of lengthy periods of leave and sickness absence from positions financed by Innovation Norway, any additional costs in connection with employing and posting a substitute abroad shall be covered by the company. Such expenses are to be settled separately .

The transfer mechanism shall be in accordance with the Regulations for Financial Management in the Government Administration.

Article 24. Changes in level of activity

In cases where Innovation Norway establishes or terminates activities abroad, or otherwise changes its activities or personnel, the annual transfer shall be adjusted to reflect any extra costs or savings.

If Innovation Norway terminates or reduces its activities at a foreign service mission, the company shall cover its share of the costs related to contracts concluded, including leases for office premises and housing, until the contracts expire or can be terminated. If termination or reduction of the company’s activities results in the premises being too large for the foreign service mission’s needs, Innovation Norway shall cover its share of the expenses incurred by the mission in moving to more suitable premises.

Any planned changes in the company’s level of activity shall be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in sufficient time for them to be incorporated into the Ministry’s budget proposal.

Any economic consequences related to changes in the level of activity during the period are to be settled between the parties before the end of the fiscal year. In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs any budget overruns are to be dealt with by means of authorised additional revenues.

The parties shall jointly and severally do everything possible to maintain simple routines and reduce operating costs and any costs connected with changes in the level of activity.

Article 25. Travel and entertainment expenses

Innovation Norway shall cover the costs of business travel and entertainment under this agreement. The costs are to be settled separately. Business travel and entertainment shall be conducted in accordance with the public sector guidelines and rates in force at any given time.

Article 26. User fees

A user fee may be charged in connection with commercial enquiries to the foreign service mission in accordance with current legislation, Innovation Norway’s mandate and Norway’s international obligations. More detailed guidelines will be issued in this area.

Activities at a foreign service mission may include organising and administering joint events and activities involving the participation of several representatives of trade and industry or co-operation partners, including allocation of invoicing costs between the participants.

Article 27. Accounts

In cases where Innovation Norway’s activities abroad are integrated into the foreign service, its accounts are incorporated into the mission’s operating accounts.

Article 28. Financial, budgeting and accounting procedures at Innovation Norway offices that are not integrated into the foreign service

Innovation Norway is responsible for financial, budgeting and accounting procedures with respect to company offices that are not integrated into the foreign service, cf. Articles 5 and 6.

Chapter 6 – Transitional provisions

Article 29. Integration of Innovation Norway’s activities abroad into the foreign service

Innovation Norway’s activities abroad are to be integrated into the foreign service in accordance with the following principles and rules:

Innovation Norway and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will, as soon as practicable, together determine at which missions integration is to be implemented and where Innovation Norway is to have its own offices, cf. Articles 5 and 6.

The parties shall together draw up an implementation plan for co-location and for the transfer of employer responsibility and administrative tasks to the foreign service. The parties’ intention is to do this as smoothly and quickly as possible. Employees’ rights and need for information shall be safeguarded in connection with the change of employer.

Until the foreign service has taken over employer responsibility and administrative tasks, Innovation Norway shall cover the running costs associated with the company’s personnel and offices.

When employees who were employed by the Norwegian Trade Council or the Norwegian Tourist Board, and for whom the foreign service has taken over employer responsibility under this agreement, vacate their position at a foreign service mission, Innovation Norway shall cover all the costs associated with rights accrued by the employee during the period of employment from the date of employment by the Norwegian Trade Council or the Norwegian Tourist Board until the date of employment by the foreign service.

Innovation Norway shall be responsible for any financial or legal consequences arising from activities of the Norwegian Trade Council or the Norwegian Tourist Board abroad in the period prior to implementation of the integration referred to in Chapter 2, but which become apparent or where the effects are first noted after such integration has been implemented.

In places where the Norwegian Trade Council’s and/or the Norwegian Tourist Board’s special envoys have not been physically co-located with a foreign service mission, and where this is done in connection with the establishment of Innovation Norway, each party shall cover a proportionate share of the costs.

Article 30. Accounts

At integrated missions, the accounting function shall be taken over by the foreign service mission concerned. This will not be done until the foreign service missions are ready to take over this function. In the transitional period, representatives of the parties who are responsible for accounts shall together find solutions with a view to rapid and effective implementation.

Article 31. IT

IT solutions are to be integrated as soon as possible. In the transitional period, representatives of the parties who are responsible for IT shall together find solutions with a view to rapid and effective implementation.

Article 32. Archives

The archives at integrated foreign service missions shall be integrated as agreed between the respective parties’ officers with responsibility for the archives. This shall be done rapidly and effectively as soon as the technical and other conditions are in place.

Chapter 7 – Final provisions

Article 33. Overall responsibility of the Head of Mission

The Head of Mission has overall responsibility for ensuring that activities carried out on behalf of Innovation Norway are not inconsistent with Norwegian foreign and international development policy. The Head of Mission is the special envoy’s highest superior in the country of service, and has the authority to issue instructions on all matters affecting employees at the mission, including special envoys and local employees financed by Innovation Norway.

Article 34. Mutual consultations

The parties shall consult each other on matters of particular importance to co-operation under this agreement in good time before a decision is taken.

Article 35. Regular contact points

The parties shall designate regular contact points for the work on promoting trade and industry and matters concerning recruitment, terms of employment and finances.

Article 36. Forum for dialogue between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Innovation Norway

In connection with the entry into force of this agreement, the parties shall establish a forum for dialogue and exchange of information concerning efforts to promote trade and industry and internationalisation. The forum shall hold regular meetings at senior-official level. The forum may also hold meetings at other times on the initiative of one of the parties.

Article 37. Renegotiation of the agreement

Either of the parties may request that the agreement be renegotiated. During renegotiations the parties shall comply with the provisions of this agreement. Any amendments shall enter into force as agreed between the parties, but at the earliest as from the calendar year after the negotiations are concluded. Amendments that have economic significance shall enter into effect at the earliest as from the fiscal year after the negotiations are concluded.

Article 38. Entry into force

This agreement enters into force on 1 January 2004.

This agreement has been drawn up in duplicate, with one copy being retained by each of the parties.

Oslo, ………………………

For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

ForInnovation Norway