Norway - Country Commercial Guide
Market Overview

Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, and other issues that affect trade.

Last published date: 2022-09-12

The Nordic Region 

The four main Nordics - Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden – are advanced, high income and highly connected countries.  While each country has its own unique market and characteristics, there are certain synergies that tie these highly innovative marketplaces together.  With an aggregate Gross Domestic Product (GDP) exceeding USD 1.8 trillion and a combined population of 27 million people, the Nordics are of genuine interest to many U.S. companies with leading and advanced products, technologies, and services. 


  • Norway is a modern, energy-rich country with a population of 5.4 million.  It is considered one of the world’s wealthiest countries with a GDP per capita based on purchasing power parities (PPP) exceeding USD 79,200.  Incomes are also more evenly distributed, making every person a consumer. 
  • Norway’s external financial position is very strong from a global perspective and the country has an important stake in promoting a liberal environment for foreign trade.   
  • The country is richly endowed with natural resources - petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals - and is highly dependent on the petroleum sector.  
  • Norway is the world’s 3rd largest exporter of natural gas and 10th largest exporter of crude oil.  Its large merchant shipping fleet is one of the most modern among maritime nations and ranked the 4th largest by value.  Other major industries, such as offshore shipping, shipbuilding, fishing and fish farming, information technology, pulp and paper products, and light metals processing have prospered as well in recent years.   
  • The projected GDP growth for mainland Norway in 2022 is 3.7% which can be attributed to Norway being a net exporter of energy during a time of higher energy prices.  In August 2022, the unemployment rate was 3.2% and the inflation rate measured by the Consumer Price Index was 6.8%.  Norway’s Central Bank raised the key policy interest rate by 0.5 point to 1.75% on August 17, 2022.
  • Russia’s escalated war on Ukraine in 2022 has had a significant impact on the energy situation and energy security in Europe, which in turn has impacted the Norwegian economy.  While energy exports have grown, household energy prices have increased by 76.8% over the past year (as of August 2022).  As a result of rapidly increasing electricity prices, the Norwegian government introduced an electricity support package in September 2021 that reduced the impact to a 18.3% increase in electricity cost for households.  Further support measures are expected in September 2022 to combat the negative effect for households, that come on top of growing inflation and higher interest rates.
  • The Norwegian economy features a combination of free market activity and government intervention.  The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector, and maintains control over a number of large-scale state enterprises - some of them fully owned, and some publicly traded, but where the government has controlling interests.  
  • Norway is located in Northern Europe and is a part of the Scandinavian Peninsula.  Jan Mayen and the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard are also part of Norwegian territory.  
  • Most of the country shares a border to the east with Sweden; its northernmost region is bordered by Finland to the south and Russia to the east; and Denmark lies south of its southern tip across the Skagerrak Strait.  Norway’s extensive coastline is facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea. 
  • With its population covering 323,802 square kilometers, Norway is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe.  It is a narrow and mountainous country nearly 1,600 miles long with a jagged coastline ten times its length. 
  • Norway is a vibrant, stable democracy. 
  • Most Norwegians are fluent in English, and many have very close cultural and family ties to the United States.   
  • Norwegian business ethics are similar to those of the United States. 
  • Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU) but is linked to the EU through the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement.  By virtue of the EEA, Norway is practically part of the EU’s single market, except in fisheries and agriculture. 
  • Norway is part of the Schengen Agreement, which guarantees free movement of persons and the absence of internal border control between 22 of the 27 EU Member States, as well as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.  Passport controls between Schengen countries have been reintroduced in 2017. 

 Political & Economic Environment:  State Department’s website for background on the country’s political environment