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Preparing to export to Norway

Consultation and bespoke research

Visit: www.great.gov.uk/uk for guidance on how to research overseas markets as well as a range of other important issues for exporters.

Regional plans and good local research are likely to be needed, using both desk research and market visits.

You should determine whether:

  • there is a market for your product or service

  • your pricing is competitive

  • to localise your product

  • to adapt your business model

The questions listed below should help you to focus your thoughts. Your answers to them will highlight areas for further research and also suggest a way forward that is right for your company. You may then want to use this as a basis for developing a formal Norway strategy, although this may not be necessary or appropriate for all companies:

Your aims

  • Do you wish to buy from Norway, sell to Norway or both?

  • Do you wish to establish your own company presence in Norway (for example through partnering with a local company, establishing a Norwegian subsidiary, registering as a foreign company, or licensing, franchising, direct or indirect exporting)?

  • Do you need to be involved in Norway at all?

  • Do you see Norway as part of a wider plan including e.g. other Nordic or Scandinavian markets?

Your company

  • What are the unique selling points for your product or service?

  • Do you know if there is a market for your product in Norway?

  • Do you know if you can be competitive in Norway?

  • Are your competitors already in Norway? If so, what are they doing?

  • Do you have the time and resources to handle the demands of communication, travel, product delivery and after-sales service?

Your knowledge

  • Do you know how to secure payment for your products or service?

  • Do you know where in Norway you should start?

  • Do you know how to locate and screen potential partners, agents or distributors?

  • Have you carried out any Norway-specific customer segmentation, and do you know how to best reach potential customers in-market? 

It is unlikely that you will have the answers to all these questions at the outset and these ‘knowledge gaps’ should form the basis for further research and investigation. Some of these questions will require quantitative research in your sector, while others involve more contextual and cultural considerations. Talking to other people in your industry and regularly visiting Norway will give you access to the most current advice, and such experience can often lead to new insights and form the basis for further research.

There are a number of trade shows held in Norway each year – these can be useful to test product viability in the market. The Department for International Trade (DIT) Tradeshow Access Programme at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tradeshow-access-programme provides funding in the form of grants for eligible businesses to attend overseas trade shows. The funding helps your business gain:

  • market knowledge

  • experience in attending and getting the most from overseas trade shows

  • advice and support from trade experts

Visit the DIT events portal at: https://events.trade.gov.uk/ to find upcoming events and missions in Norway.

Find out more about marketing your goods and services for Norway, at: https://www.great.gov.uk/uk/.

Contact the DIT team in Norway at: comsec@online.no for events and company launches at Embassy locations, or visit: www.export.great.gov.uk/.

 

Start-up considerations

There are several ways you can do business in Norway:

  • direct exports

  • finding an agent or wholesaler/distributer

  • register as a Norwegian business

  • set up a subsidiary company

Direct exports and sales in Norway

With direct exports you handle all the logistics of marketing, selling, sending overseas and getting paid yourself. Direct sales are possible to retailers and through online sales.

If you do not have a high level of fluency in business Norwegian, you may wish to use local representation. Options include using an agent, distributor or wholesaler.

UK DIT’s trade specialists can help you identify local representatives for your products in Norway. See: https://www.gov.uk/overseas-customers-export-opportunities.

Setting up a business entity in Norway

Once you have a foothold in the market you should consider starting up a Norwegian subsidiary. This is a quick and relatively easy process in Norway.

It is recommended you verify company status with Norway’s companies register (Brønnøysund Register) at: https://www.brreg.no/home/. This consists of several different national computerised registers.

Contact the DIT team in Oslo at: comsec@online.no for advice, as the tax and legal obligations of each business structure can differ.

You can find out more about starting a business entity in Norway at: https://www.altinn.no/en/Start-and-Run-a-Business/?epslanguage=en.

Consult legal professionals to avoid costly mistakes and ensure you start out in the way that is best suited to your sector of activity. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/norway-list-of-lawyers.

Online selling to Norway

If you are selling your goods over the internet to private consumers you must pay for value added tax (VAT) and to do this you must register with The Norwegian Tax Administration at: http://www.skatteetaten.no/en/voesnorway via VOES Norway.

For more information on Norway’s VAT threshold consult the Norwegian Tax Administration at: http://www.skatteetaten.no/en/business-and-organisation/duties1/value-added-tax---vat/.

Find out about UK DIT’s e-exporting programme at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/e-exporting, which can help you export products overseas.

Check out online marketplaces in Norway at: https://selling-online-overseas.export.great.gov.uk
/markets/
, where DIT has negotiated listings at better-than-commercial rates.

Licensing or franchising in Norway

Licensing and franchising are increasingly popular. You can license your goods or services to be sold in Norway.

Visit the international section of the British Franchise Association at: http://www.thebfa.org
/international
for more information on franchising.

Visit: https://www.great.gov.uk/uk/ for guidance on how to research overseas markets as well as a range of other important issues for exporters.

Consult local English-speaking lawyers at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/norway-list-of-lawyers to avoid costly mistakes and ensure you start out in the way that is best suited to your sector of activity.

 

Getting finance to fulfil an export contract in Norway

To make it easier to fulfil an export contract and grow your business, schemes are available to UK companies selling products and services to Norway. Contact your bank or specialist financial organisations for assistance.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has significant risk capacity to support exports to Norway. See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/country-cover-policy-and-indicators#norway. Contact one of UKEF’s export finance advisers at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/find-an-export-finance-manager for free and impartial guidance on your finance options.

 

Getting paid in Norway

Norway is a wealthy and interconnected economy. Norwegians are well educated and sophisticated buyers with a good reputation for paying suppliers on time. However, you may wish to talk to a specialist about finance, including how to get paid in Norway. This could be a bank, an accountant or you can contact the DIT team in Oslo to help you find a financial adviser in Norway. See: https://www.export.great.gov.uk.

Your contract will specify the terms for payment. If there is any dispute you will need to go through the Norwegian legal system for resolution.

Within the EEA, many businesses use payment on account in much the same way as within the UK.

Payment conditions must be factored into prices. For business-to-business transactions these can range from immediate payments on receipt of goods (often with a negotiated small discount) to a negotiated 60-day payment.


 

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