KRDs brev om transportstøtte

Publisert under: Regjeringen Bondevik II

Utgiver: Nærings- og handelsdepartementet

EFTA Surveillance Authority

Rue de Treves 74

B-1040 BRUSSELS

Your ref

Our ref

Date

03/1281 r

Subject: State aid, Notification of a new national direct transport aid scheme.

In accordance with Article 1(3) of Protocol 3 to the Surveil­lance and Court Agreement, the Norwegian Government hereby notifies to the EFTA Surveillance Authority of our intention to implement a new direct transport aid scheme, cf. enclosed notification form (annex I). Reference is made to the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s decision of 4 November 1998 (Dec. No 316,317/98/COL) in the field of State aid, where the Authority’s new Guidelines on national regional aid is adopted. The proposed new direct transport aid scheme is in accordance with Annex XI of the State aid guidelines for regional aid: Aid to offset additional transport costs in regions qualifying for exemption under article 61(3)(c) on the basis of the population density test.

EXISTING TRANSPORT AID SCHEMEs

Norway currently has two notified transport aid schemes in operation. The indirect transport aid scheme (differentiated social security contribution) was approved by the Authority 22 September 1999 (228/99/COL) covering as eligible areas the counties Finnmark, Troms, Nordland, Sogn og Fjordane and parts of the counties Nord-Trøndelag, Sør-Trøndelag, Møre og Romsdal, Hordaland, Rogaland, Vest-Agder, Aust-Agder, Telemark, Buskerud, Oppland and Hedmark. The direct regional transport aid administrated by the county municipalities, comprises the counties of Finnmark, Troms, Nordland and parts of Nord-Trøndelag. This scheme was approved by the Authority 19 December 2001 (418/01/COL).

  1. THE NEW TRANSPORT AID SCHEME

Aim of the scheme

Extra transport costs is one of the permanent disadvantages or costs of distance related handicaps for firms located in peripheral areas and within a sparsely populated region compared to firms located in central areas.

The aim of this new scheme is thus partly to offset the competitive disadvantages which additional transport costs represents for enterprises situated long distances from their markets.

Eligible regions

The following counties are included in the area eligible for regional transport aid[LHA1] :

  • In Troms county, the municipalities of Harstad, Tromsø, Kvæfjord, Skånland, Bjarkøy, Ibestad, Gratangen, Lavangen, Bardu, Salangen, Målselv, Sørreisa, Dyrøy, Tranøy, Torsken, Berg, Lenvik and Balsfjord.
  • Nordland county.
  • In Nord-Trøndelag county the municipalities of Leka, Nærøy, Vikna, Flatanger, Fosnes, Overhalla, Høylandet, Grong, Namsos, Namsskogan, Røyrvik, Lierne, Snåsa, Inderøy, Namdalseid, Verran, Mosvik, Verdal, Leksvik, Meråker and Steinkjer.
  • In Sør-Trøndelag county, the municipalities of Hemne, Snillfjord, Hitra, Frøya, Ørland, Agdenes, Rissa, Bjugn, Åfjord, Roan, Osen, Oppdal, Rennebu, Meldal, Røros, Holtålen, Midtre Gauldal, Selbu and Tydal.
  • In Møre og Romsdal county, the municipalities of Kristiansund, Vanylven, Sande, Herøy, Ulstein, Hareid, Norddal, Stranda, Stordal, Rauma, Nesset, Midsund, Sandøy, Aukra, Eide, Averøy, Frei, Gjemnes, Tingvoll, Sunndal, Surnadal, Rindal, Aure, Halsa, Tustna and Smøla.
  • In Sogn og Fjordane county, the municipalities of Gulen, Solund, Hyllestad, Høyanger, Vik, Balestrand, Leikanger, Sogndal, Aurland, Lærdal, Årdal, Luster, Askvoll, Fjaler, Gaular, Jølster, Bremanger, Vågsøy, Selje, Eid, Hornindal, Gloppen and Stryn.

The proposed areas eligible for direct transport aid are within the eligible area for regional aid, approved by the Authority 17 December 1999 (327/99/COL), except from the islands of Herøy, Ulstein, Hareid and Aukra in Møre og Romsdal.

Eligible types of transport

Under the national transport aid scheme aid is granted in relation to:

  • Transport of goods, which will undergo processing at the premises of the consignee, to enterprises located in the area eligible for transport aid
  • Transport of goods from enterprises located in the eligible area.

Calculation of the regional direct transport aid

Aid may only be given in respect of the extra cost of transport of goods inside national boundaries and calculated on the basis of the direct and most economical option of transport mode between the place of production and processing and commercial outlet. (Cf the enclosed proposed national guidelines). When transporting goods to destinations in Sweden and Finland, the calculation of total transport distance includes also the distances within Sweden and Finland. However, aid is only given to the transport costs occurred within the national borders.

Only documented transport costs may form the basis for calculating the aid. The transport aid is calculated as a percentage of the total transport costs, reflecting the real extra transport costs in the assisted area. In this context, the transport cost refers to reasonable costs, which is specified in a consignment note or equivalent document and which is dependent on the transport distance inside national boundaries, weight of goods and type of goods and on freight charges and other charges which may be attributed to the actual transport. For further details, see annex II.

Transport compensation is given on the basis of applications from the firms, the year after the transport costs occurred. The aid intensity will be differentiated according to 2 geographical eligible transport zones and according to the transport distance. To be eligible for transport aid the transport distance for the actual transportation has to be more than 350 km. For transportation distance of more than 700 km the aid intensity increases in the different transport zones.

The geographical zones are:

Zone 1: Eligible areas in Troms county, Nordland and eligible area in Nord-Trøndelag.

Zone 2: Eligible areas in Sør-Trøndelag, Møre og Romsdal and Sogn og Fjordane.

Table 1 below shows the aid intensity for the different zones and different transport distances:

Table 1 Aid intensity

Transport distances in kilometer

Zone 1

Zone 2

350 – 700

30 %

20 %

701 -

40 %

30 %

The direct transport aid is paid as a grant partly to cover the costs for transport of goods by rail, road or sea. For sea transport, see the enclosed national guidelines (Annex 2).

Duration of the scheme

1.1.2004 – 31.12.2006

Budget

The budget for the transport aid scheme will depend of the length of the transition period for the differentiated social security contribution according to the cumulation rules (2.7. below). After the transition period the budget is estimated to approximately NOK 200 mill per year.

Cumulation

By setting maximum aid intensity as a percentage of the total transport costs, the Norwegian Government will ensure that firms are not being overcompensated, according to Annex XI of the Authority’s State aid guidelines on National regional aid. If companies also have a reduced social security tax the advantages of this reduction in the tax has to be deducted from the transport aid grant calculated according to table 1.

Sectors exempted from the scheme

The following economic activities cannot receive regional transport aid:

a) The scheme does not apply to transport or transmission of the products of businesses without an alternative location;

  • Production and distribution of electricity
  • Extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas
  • Service activities incidental to oil and gas extraction excluding surveying
  • Mining and metal ores
  • Extraction of the industrial minerals nepheline syenite and olivine.

b) Industries covered by specific sectoral rules

The following sectors may not receive regional transport aid due to specific sectoral rules:

  • Enterprises covered by the Act referred to in point 1a and b of Annex XV to the EEA agreement (on aid to the steel industry and aid to shipbuilding).

Sensitive sectors, which have to be subject to more specific notification requirements

Regional transport aid given to the motor vehicle industry or industrial production of synthetic fibres will be subject to prior notification and approval by the Authority in accordance with the State aid guidelines.

Geographical scope

The designation of the area for regional transport aid is based on Annex XI of the Authority’s State aid guidelines on regional aid. Regional transport aid may be given in areas qualifying for regional aid on the basis of the population density test.

The area for regional state aid in Norway covers 25,8 % of the total population (dec no 327/99/COL). The proposed area for the new national transport aid covers only 16,01 % of the total population. The whole region proposed eligible for regional transport aid qualifies for regional state aid for the period 2000–2006.

Regarding the areas qualifying for regional transport aid, it is stated in Annex XI:

Aid may be given only to firms located in areas qualifying for regional aid on the basis of the new population density test. Such areas will be made up essentially of NUTS level III geographic regions with a population density of less than 12,5 inhabitants per square kilometre. However, a certain flexibility is allowed in the selection of areas, subject to the following limitations:

  • flexibility in the selection of areas must not mean an increase in the population covered by transport aid;
  • the NUTS III parts qualifying for for flexibility must have a population density of less than 12,5 inhabitants per square kilometre;
  • they must be contiguous with NUTS III regions which satisfy the low population density test;
  • their population must be low compared with the total coverage of the transport aid

Four of the counties proposed eligible for regional transport aid meet the general population density criterion of less than 12,5 persons per square kilometre on NUTS level III geographic regions. These are Troms, Nordland. Nord-Trøndelag and Sogn og Fjordane. In Nord-Trøndelag and Sogn og Fjordane only those municipalities covered by the regional aid map is proposed eligible for regional transport aid.

The population covered by the existing indirect transport aid scheme is 23,55 % (year 2002) compared to a population coverage of 16,01 % in the new proposed area. This is in accordance with the first condition in the fifth indent in Annex XI of the State aid guidelines for National regional aid.

The counties of Sør-Trøndelag and Møre og Romsdal have a population density above 12,5 inhabitants per square kilometre. The parts of these counties proposed as eligible for the new transport aid scheme, have a population density well below 12,5 inhabitants per square kilometre. The population density in the proposed eligible area in Sør-Trøndelag is 4,1 inhabitants per square kilometre and in Møre og Romsdal 9,6 inhabitants per square kilometre. Hence, the requirements of the second condition in the above mentioned indent of Annex XI to the State aid guidelines for National regional aid are met..

The areas must further, according to Annex XI, be contiguous with NUTS III regions that satisfy the low population density test. This condition is also met.

The population in Sør-Trøndelag and Møre og Romsdal which are proposed eligible for transport aid must also, according to Annex XI, remain low compared to the total coverage of the transport aid. The total population of the municipalities in the two counties that are included in the proposed area is 179 792 persons. This is 24,9 % of the total population coverage in the new national transport aid scheme. This last condition is also met.

COMPATIBILITY of the aid scheme with the eea agreement.

In accordance with the State aid guidelines it is necessary to document that regional transport aid is confined to regions needing transport compensation on objective grounds and that transport aid serves to compensate for the additional transport costs only (paragraph 24.4 (26)) first indent of Annex II of the guidelines). The existence of extra high transport costs in remote areas in Norway was confirmed by a study undertaken by the Institute of Trans­port Economics in Norway (TØI) 1Karl-Erik Hagen (1996): “Industribedrifters transportvolum og kostnader”, Institute of Trans­port Economics in Norway (TØI), nr 0-2273 in 1996 for the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development. The study covered 36 different, randomly sampled companies in various parts of the country. The extra transport costs were calculated on the basis of information given by the firms.

The study demonstrated that firms located in the most remote and sparsely populated areas did have a substantial disadvantage compared to firms in more central areas, due to higher direct and indirect transport costs.

The same institute as mentioned above will finalize a survey of extra transport costs in the proposed area for transport aid during May 2003. The new survey will cover 36 enterprises including firms in the area not proposed eligible for the new national transport aid. Transport costs in areas not proposed eligible for transport aid will be established as reference transport costs compared to extra transport costs in areas proposed eligible. This survey will demonstrate the existence of extra transport costs in the area eligible for regional transport aid and may influence the proposed aid intensities in the transport aid zones.

Concluding remarks

If the Authority needs any further information about the scheme, please do not hesitate to bring these forward as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Pål Erik Holte (b.a.)

Deputy Director General

Enclosures

VEDLEGG

Annex I

1. EFTA State

Norway

2. Title of aid scheme/ aid measure:

Direct transport aid

3. Level of government responsible for scheme/ aid measure:

Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development

4. Ministry or other administrative body with statutory responsibility for the scheme/ aid measure and its implementation:

Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development (KRD)

Person(s) to contact

KRD; Pål Erik Holte, tel: +47 22 24 70 10

5. Legal basis

  • Forskrift om avgrensing av geografisk verkeområde for distriktspolitiske verkemidlar, laid down in a Royal Decree of 7 January 2000.
  • Forskrift om avgrensing av geografisk virkeområde samt regelverk for direkte transportstøtte, will be laid down in a Royal Decree after the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s (ESA) approval of the scheme.
  • National guidelines from the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development - see annex II

6. State whether a new scheme or an alteration to an existing one:

A new scheme in addition to the existing notified transport scheme for the counties of Finnmark, Troms, Nordland and Nord-Trøndelag

7. If an alteration to an existing scheme give:

  • Title of scheme: Not relevant
  • Date of notification and date of authorization by ESA: Not relevant
  • Specify which rules and conditions are being changed and why: Not relevant

8. Objective(s) of scheme/aid measure:

To promote regional and industrial development in remote regions with long distances to the central markets. The aim of the regional transport aid is thus to partly offset the competitive disadvantages which additional transport costs represent for enterprises situated long distances from their markets.

9. Form(s) of aid

Grants

11. Other aid limitations or criteria for each form of aid

Eligible area – see notification letter and enclosed map

12. Repayment and penalty arrangements

Grant provided are paid out the year after the transport has been carried out. Transport costs have to be documented in the firms` accounts. The county administrations, or the body authorised to be responsible to the administration of the scheme, will carry out regular sample inquiries to control enterprises figures. If irregularities are detected, repayment will be claimed.

13. Cumulation of aid

Receiving transport aid does not exclude the firms from receiving aid from other schemes. If companies also have a reduced social security tax contribution the advantages of this reduction in the tax has to be deducted from the transport aid grant calculated according to the state aid intensity.

14. Duration of aid scheme/ aid measure

1 January 2004 to 31 December 2006

15. Budget/ expenditure

The budget for the transport aid scheme will depend of the transition of the differentiates social security contribution according to the cumulation rules.

App. NOK 200 mill. after the transition period

16. For schemes which do not have a specific sectoral or regional aim, specify any resulting sectoral or regional concentration of aid

Not relevant

17. Estimated number of recipients

Approximately 1000 recipients

18. Information/control measures envisaged to ensure that assisted projects comply with statutory objectives.

Calculation of actual grants to enterprises is based on documented transport costs specified in a consignment note or equivalent document. The grant is set as a fixed percentage (between 20 % and 40%) of the total transport costs to secure that only extra transport costs are partly offset. The relevant documents will be controlled by an auditor appointed by the county municipality.

Regular sample enquiries will be undertaken to ensure that assisted projects comply with statutory objectives and do not receive overcompensation. Information on the aid scheme will also be included in the annual reporting of State aid to the Authority.

19. Fully reasoned justification of the compatibility of the aid scheme/aid measure backed by necessary statistical information

See notification letter

20. Other relevant data

VEDLEGG

Annex II

Nasjonale retningslinjer for transportstøtte

Innledning

Det legges til grunn at regional transportstøtte gis av fylkeskommunene, eller den fylkeskommunen bemyndiger, til bedrifter i eget fylke. Midler til transportstøtte vil overføres fra Kommunal- og regionaldepartementet til de berørte fylkeskommunene årlig. Til grunn for de nasjonale retningslinjene ligger kriteriene for transportstøtte gitt i regelverket for regional statsstøtte, vedtatt av ESA 4. november 1998.

Formål

Transportstøttens siktemål er å stimulere til økonomisk vekst i næringssvake områder ved å redusere de konkurransemessige ulemper som følge av lange transportavstander og vanskelige transportforhold og spredt bosetting i enkelte distrikter. Ordningen tar sikte på å kompensere for en del av merkostnadene til transport som påføres bedrifter som ligger perifert i forhold til mer sentrale områder.

Vilkår for transportstøtte

For å få transportstøtte må bedriften ha et produksjonssted som ligger innenfor ordningens geografiske virkeområde slik det er fastlagt i punkt 1. Transportstøtte kan bare gis til bedrifter i de næringer som er bestemt i punkt 2. Endelige retningslinjer vil bli fatslagt etter at ESAs godkjenning foreligger i form av forskrift for geografisk virkeområde, støttesatser m.v. og gjennom utfyllende retningslinjer.

Geografi
Det kan bare gis støtte til bedrift som ligger innenfor det distriktspolitiske virkeområdet (A, B og C området)(jfr forskrift vedtatt ved kong res 7. januar 2000) i følgende fylker: Troms utenom kommunene som omfattes av tiltakssonen i Nord-Troms, Nordland og Nord-Trøndelag, Sør-Trøndelag, Møre og Romsdal og Sogn og Fjordane nærmere spesifisert under punkt 4.

I tillegg kan det gis støtte til følgende øykommuner i sone D i det distriktspolitiske virkeområdet: Aukra, Herøy, Ulstein, Hareid (Møre og Romsdal).

Beskrivelse av ordningen

Transportkostnader som kan støttes

  • Inntransport av varer/produkter til bedrifter lokalisert i virkeområdet for transportstøtte, hvor varene/produktene vil bli bearbeidet.
  • Uttransport av varer/produkter fra bedrifter innenfor virkeområdet for transportstøtte.
  • Samme type transporter som ovenfor nevnte innenfor virkeområdet under forutsetning av at kriteriet om minste transportavstand er oppfylt.

Med transportkostnader menes reelle kostnader i forbindelse med transporten. De reelle transportkostnadene må dokumenteres gjennom kvitteringer, fraktseddel eller annen egnet dokumentasjon. Dokumentasjonen må inneholde transportavstanden innenlands og eventuelt transporter i Sverige og Finland, godsvekt, og godstype og frakttillegg og andre avgifter som kan knyttes til selve transporten.

Kostnader ved egentransport vil kunne refunderes ved at bedriften dokumenterer kunde og leverandørbilag for leveransene. Refusjonen vil bli fastsatt med utgangspunkt i støtte pr. tonnkm og slik at støttenivået ligger godt innenfor de maksimale støttesatsene i tab. 1 nedenunder.

Det kan gis støtte til transport på vei, bane og sjø. Ordningen skal ikke være eksportstøtte. Ved eksport kan transportstøtte kun gis som kompensasjon for ekstra transportkostnader en bedrift har frem til grensen eller nærmeste eksporthavn

Transportkostnader må beregnes ut fra den mest økonomiske transportmåten og den korteste vei mellom produksjonsstedet eller bearbeidingsstedet og varemottaker. Det kan bare gis støtte til transport der transportert lengde er 350 km eller mer (se tab. 1)

Transportstøtte for sjøtransport gis for strekningen mellom havn i virkeområdet og havn innenfor landet uavhengig av om fartøyet vil passere grensen for norsk territorialfarvann. Dersom fartøyet har utenlandsk destinasjon vil det gis transportstøtte for strekningen mellom havn innenfor virkeområdet og nærmest beliggende norske havn når fartøyet anses som endelig å forlate norsk territorialfarvann. Ved inntransportering gis det transportstøtte for strekningen fra nærmeste beliggende norske havn når fartøyet anses endelig å komme inn i norsk territorialfarvann og til en havn innenfor virkeområdet.

Ved transporter til Sverige og Finland vil den totale transportdistanse innberegnes i grunnlaget for å beregne samlet transportavstand. I støttegrunnlaget vil imidlertid ikke mer enn de faktiske transportkostnadene til norskegrensen bli innberegnet.

Refusjon for transportkostnader kan gis til godstransport på jernbane, yrkesmessig trafikk på veg eller til sjøs.

En enkelt transport må minimum være på 20 kilogram for å kunne få refundert kostnadene. Det gis heller ikke refusjon av transportkostnader mindre enn 25 000 kr i løpet av et kalenderår.

Næringsavgrensning

Transportstøtte kan ikke tildeles bedrifter (i sektorer) som omfattes av sektorregler som er gitt i ESAs vedtak av 22. september 1999 (228/99 COL) og i Finansdepartementets forskrift av 29.12.99 med hjemmel i Stortingets vedtak av 26.11.99 Om fastsettelse av avgifter m.v. til folketrygden for 2000 §4 annet ledd. Det kan heller ikke gis transportstøtte til bedrifter innen fiskeri- og landbrukssektoren som omfattes av ordningen med differensiert arbeidsgiveravgift (fastsatt gjennom kommende skattevedtak).

  1. Grad av kompensasjon – soner og støttesatser i virkeområdet
    Støtten må bare tjene som kompensasjon for ekstra transportkostnader. Støtteutmålingen vil ta utgangspunkt i en delvis refusjon av ekstra transportkostnader for bedriftene i virkeområdet. Virkeområdet vil bestå av to ulike soner.

Sone 1:

  • Troms med kommunene Harstad, Tromsø, Kvæfjord, Skånland, Bjarkøy, Ibestad, Gratangen, Lavangen, Bardu, Salangen, Målselv, Sørreisa, Dyrøy, Tranøy, Torsken, Berg, Lenvik, Balsfjord.
  • Hele Nordland
  • Nord-Trøndelag med kommunene Leka, Nærøy, Vikna, Flatanger, Fosnes, Overhalla, Høylandet, Grong, Namsos, Namsskogan, Røyrvik, Lierne, Snåsa, Inderøy, Namdalseid, Verran, Mosvik, Verdal, Leksvik, Meråker og Steinkjer.

Sone 2:

  • Sør-Trøndelag med kommunene Hemne, Snillfjord, Hitra, Frøya, Ørland, Agdenes, Rissa, Bjugn, Åfjord, Roan, Osen, Oppdal, Rennebu, Meldal, Røros, Holtålen, Midtre- Gauldal, Selbu og Tydal.
  • Møre og Romsdal med kommunene Kristiansund, Vanylven, Sande, Herøy, Ulstein, Hareid, Norddal, Stranda, Stordal, Rauma, Nesset, Midsund, Sandøy, Aukra, Eide, Averøy, Frei, Gjemnes, Tingvoll, Sunndal, Surnadal, Rindal, Aure, Halsa, Tustna og Smøla.
  • Sogn og Fjordane med kommunene Gulen, Solund, Hyllestad, Høyanger, Vik, Balestrand, Leikanger, Sogndal, Aurland, Lærdal, Årdal, Luster, Askvoll, Fjaler, Gaular, Jølster, Bremanger, Vågsøy, Selje, Eid, Hornindal, Gloppen og Stryn.

Tabell 1 Støttesatser

Transportavstand i kilometer

Sone 1

Sone 2

350 - 700

30 %

20 %

701 -

40 %

30 %

Kumulering

Ved beregning av støtte tas det utgangspunkt i bedriftens dokumenterte transportkostnader. Overkompensasjon må ikke forekomme. Kompensasjon i form av redusert arbeidsgiveravgift og direkte transportstøtte må ikke overstige bedriftens dokumenterte ekstra transportkostnader. Ved beregning av refusjon av transportstøtte skal derfor fordelen med redusert arbeidsgiveravgift trekkes fra beløpet bedriften får i transportstøtte.

Rapportering/iverksetting

Fylkeskommunene rapporterer til Kommunal- og regionaldepartementet innen 1. juni hvert år. Av rapportene må det fremgå at ordningen er praktisert innenfor de nasjonale retningslinjene. Stikkprøver for å kontrollere at ordningen praktiseres i samsvar med retningslinjene vil bli foretatt jevnlig. Dersom det oppdages uregelmessigheter, vil departementet kreve at ulovlig mottatt støtte tilbakebetales.

VEDLEGG