Norway - Country Commercial Guide
Selling to the Public Sector
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Selling to the Government

Norway is party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA), which extends, in most respects, to the internal market of the EU, as well as to the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) countries Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.  These EFTA members and all the member states of the EU are party to the EEA Agreement.  As part of the EEA Agreement, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein have adopted relevant EU legislation with respect to public procurement.

Government procurement in Europe is governed by international obligations under the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) and EU-wide legislation under the EU Public Procurement Directives.  U.S.-based companies can bid on public tenders covered by the GPA, while European subsidiaries of United States companies may bid on all public procurement contracts covered by EU directives, as implemented through national legislation.  All public procurement procedures in the EU are carried out on the basis of national rules.  For higher value contracts, these rules are based on general EU public procurement rules.

Through the signature of the WTO GPA, Norway’s public procurement market opened to more countries, so signatory states outside the EU may also participate.  Norway’s international commitments through both the EEA and GPA agreements are incorporated into Norwegian legislation.  All public tender notices are required to be published in the Norwegian gazette, Norsk Lysingsblad, and the public procurement database DOFFIN (see below).  Through the EEA Agreement, public entities in Norway are required to announce tenders above a certain threshold value in the EU database, Tender Electronic Daily (TED). 

Because of WTO GPA obligations, purchases covered by the GPA are also announced in the DOFFIN database, which automatically forwards tenders above the threshold value to TED.  DOFFIN is the Norwegian Internet-based database for notices of public procurement and procurement in the utilities sectors (water and energy supply, transport, and telecommunications) that are subject to the EU regulations.  The purpose of the base of the procurement notices is to: 

  • Ensure competition and openness about business opportunities. 
  • Forward all procurement notices for the announcement in TED, when applicable. 
  • Ensure the control of procurement notices before publishing. 
  • Publish and distribute the procurement notices in a searchable format.
  • Generate relevant statistics in the public sector. 

DOFFIN is operated by EUS Holdings Limited (EU-Supply).  The Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi) manages DOFFIN on behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. 

Legal complaints regarding public procurement in Norway should be directed to the Norwegian courts, or to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA).

The U.S. Commercial Service at the U.S. Mission to the European Union has a website dedicated to procurement and a market research site which contains reports on EU tendering and government procurement.

U.S. companies bidding on foreign government tenders may also qualify for U.S. Government advocacy. Within the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. Government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters in competition with foreign firms in foreign government projects or procurement opportunities. The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts. Advocacy assistance can take many forms but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S. Government agency officials expressing support for the U.S. exporters directly to the foreign government. Consult the Advocacy Center’s program web page for additional information.

Financing of Projects

In principle, all kinds of financing are available to foreign investors.  Overdrafts and mortgages are available from banks, which will also assist in the issuance of such financial instruments as discount bonds, convertible bonds, etc. 

Financial lease arrangements are supplied by leasing companies.  If a leased asset is financed from foreign funding, a license is required from the Central Bank of Norway.  If the lessee is foreign and the agreement is of a financial character (financial leasing), a license is required.  No license is required if the leasing agreement can be said to be operational. 

Venture capital and merchant banking are not highly developed in all sectors but do exist.  Venture capital is particularly focused on the energy sector, renewable technology and to some degree within the ICT sector and healthcare technology.  The Norwegian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (NVCA) is an independent, non–profit association supporting the interests of companies and persons who are active in the Norwegian private equity industry.  

Under relatively strict conditions it is possible to obtain fresh capital at the stock exchange. The Oslo Stock Exchange (Oslo Bors) offers the only regulated markets for securities trading in Norway today and has a license as a regulated market from the Norwegian Ministry of Finance.  The Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority supervise regulated markets and multilateral trading facilities in Norway.  The Oslo Stock Exchange is considered significant on a global scale in the energy, shipping, and seafood sectors.  A company that has its shares listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange will find it quicker and easier to list other types of securities, such as bonds or short-term certificates.  The Oslo Stock Exchange joined the Euronext Group in June 2019.  

Export Financing 

Export Finance Norway (Eksportfinansiering Norge - Eksfin) promotes Norwegian exports mainly by offering financing to buyers of Norwegian exporters’ goods and services.  Export Finance Norway’s purpose is to be an efficient manager of financing schemes for value-added exports.  Export Finance Norway is a result of the Norwegian government’s merger of the Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency (Garantiinstituttet for eksportkreditt (GIEK)) and Export Credit Norway.  The schemes and offers of export credits which were managed by the two organizations were transferred to Export Finance Norway on July 1, 2021.  The main task of Export Finance Norway is to provide loans and guarantees to buyers of Norwegian goods and services.  There are also certain products offered directly to Norwegian exporters. Export Finance Norway performs risk assessments in each individual guarantee application and is required to break even over time.  Export Finance Norway’s activities are regulated by international frameworks.

Norway offers no significant financing programs for either domestic or foreign investors.  One exception is investments in northern Norway, where a reduced payroll tax and other incentives apply.  There are no free-trade zones, although taxes are minimal on Svalbard.  A state industry and regional development fund provides support (e.g., investment grants and financial assistance) for industrial development in areas with special employment difficulties or with low levels of economic activity.   For more information: Invest in Norway and Innovation Norway

Financing Resources