Article | Last updated: 2015-07-14 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The promotion of Norwegian business interests abroad has always been one of most important tasks of the Foreign Service. In today’s changing world, this task is becoming more complex. The needs of Norwegian-based companies have also changed considerably in recent years.
In order to remain competitive, the Norwegian business sector needs to maintain a constant focus on innovation, adaptation and internationalisation. Being part of a rapidly changing global economy presents both opportunities and challenges. The Foreign Service seeks to be a valuable partner in assisting companies in navigating this landscape.
What can the Foreign Service offer?
The missions are the Foreign Service’s most important resource when it comes to providing assistance to the Norwegian business sector abroad. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has more than 100 missions that can provide access to networks and information about local conditions, as well as advice about matters such as security and CSR.
The missions can assist companies in different ways, for example by:
- opening doors and providing access to useful networks and potential partners, for instance by working with companies to arrange of meetings and events in the host country;
- coordinating events and promotional activities, and creating meeting places through Team Norway, an informal network of business sector actors;
- providing assistance with arranging a business programme, for example in connection with state visits, official visits or other visits involving business delegations;
- providing information about local political, cultural and social conditions;
- providing information about the most important sectors and markets for Norwegian companies in the host country;
- providing information on the rules and legislation in the host country, and on particular circumstances that companies should be aware of;
- putting companies in touch with the right authorities in matters that require official approval, and assisting companies in following these up;
- providing consular assistance, for example, with issues relating to visas;
- providing advice on CSR and on the main challenges companies may face in the host country on environmental issues, corruption, human rights and workers’ rights;
- providing advice on security issues and risks in the host country;
- assisting companies, in cases where it is appropriate for the Norwegian authorities to do so, with problems related to their operations.
Innovation Norway currently has offices in a number of countries and is an important partner for the Foreign Service. In many cases, the Innovation Norway office is co-located with the mission, and formally part of it. In countries where Innovation Norway does not have an office, it is represented by the mission.
The Foreign Service also maintains close contact with social partner organisations and other agencies and government bodies that provide support to the business sector.
Promoting value creation in Norway
Business promotion is now being placed in a broader foreign policy context. Increasing competitiveness and building knowledge are two of the Government’s top priorities, and the Foreign Service is drawing up separate strategies for its work in these areas. The rapidly changing global economy makes it necessary for Norway to promote innovative, knowledge-intensive industries.
Norway needs to be able to hold its own in the global competition to attract the brightest minds and the best investments. We need to make sure that Norway is an attractive location for the jobs of tomorrow. For this reason, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now drawing up a strategy for promoting Norway as an attractive country to invest, study, work and live in.
Developing world-leading research and innovation groups in Norway is vital for maintaining Norway’s competitiveness. A project entitled Global Knowledge has been established to give impetus to the Foreign Service’s knowledge-building efforts. It will be carried out in close dialogue with research groups in Norway.
The Section for Business Promotion and Development is the contact point for companies seeking assistance from the Ministry. The Section maintains close contact with the missions, relevant Norwegian agencies and government bodies, business clusters and key research groups. The Section is also the contact point for companies requiring information on issues of security.
If you have questions about business promotion, please contact the Section for Business Promotion and Development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Did you know? The need to provide support for Norwegian companies abroad was a key reason for the establishment of the Norwegian consular service in 1905, and providing assistance to the business sector has been one of the core tasks of the Foreign Service ever since.