7. State-Owned Enterprises
The government continues to play a strong role in the Norwegian economy through its ownership or control of many of the country’s leading commercial firms. The public sector accounts for nearly 66 percent of GDP. The Norwegian government is the largest owner in Norway, with ownership stakes in a range of key sectors (e.g., energy, transportation, finance, and communications). 74 State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are managed directly by the relevant government ministries, and approximately 33 percent of the stock exchange’s capitalization is in government hands. State ownership in companies can be used as a means of ensuring Norwegian ownership and domicile for these firms.
Norway is party to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a signatory to all relevant annexes. SOEs are thus covered under the agreement.
Successive Norwegian governments have sustained stable levels of strong, transparent, and predictable government ownership. The former center-right government took limited steps to reduce ownership stakes.