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Norway is a modern, highly developed country with a small but very strong economy. Per capita GDP is among the highest in the world, boosted by decades of success in the oil and gas sector and other world-class industries like shipping, shipbuilding, and aquaculture. The major industries are supported by a strong and growing professional services industry (finance, ICT, legal), and there are emerging opportunities in fintech, cleantech, medtech, and biotechnology. Strong collaboration between industry and research institutions attracts international R&D activity and funding. Norway is a safe and straightforward country in which to do business, ranked 9 out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Report, and fourth out of 180 on Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index. Norway is politically stable, with strong property rights protection and an effective legal system. Productivity is significantly higher than the EU average.

In Norway, there is a clear division of roles in economic policy. The government is responsible for setting fiscal policy, while Norway’s Central Bank sets monetary policy with the primary goal of maintaining economic stability. While the coronavirus pandemic dampened economic activity in early 2022, government fiscal support and the phasing-out of pandemic restrictions led to an economic recovery. However, high consumer price inflation primarily driven by electricity price increases, and global supply bottlenecks in computer chips, lumber, and shipping, have added pressures to inflation. To tackle it, the Central Bank has gradually increased the reference interest rate since 2022 and the Parliament approved in December 2022 a contractionary budget for the 2023 fiscal year.

Norwegian lawmakers and businesses welcome foreign investment as a matter of policy and the government generally grants national treatment to foreign investors. Some restrictions exist on foreign ownership and use of natural resources and infrastructure. The government remains a major owner in the Norwegian economy and retains monopolies on a few activities, such as the retail sale of alcohol.

Norway, while not a member of the European Union (EU), is part of the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA agreement extends the “four freedoms” to Norway, ensuring free flow of capital, personnel, services and goods between Norway and the rest of the EU. The Norwegian government continues to liberalize its foreign investment legislation with the aim of conforming more closely to EU standards and has cut bureaucratic regulations over the last decade to make investment easier. Foreign direct investment in Norway stood at $140 billion at the end of 2022 and has more than doubled over the last decade. There are approximately 8,363 foreign-owned companies in Norway, and an estimated 659 U.S. companies have a presence in the country, employing more than 50,000 people.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings
Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2022 4 of 180
Global Innovation Index 2022 22 of 132
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions) 2021 USD 30.6 billion
World Bank GNI per capita 2021 USD 83,880

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

Norwegian lawmakers and businesses welcome foreign investment as a matter of policy and the government generally grants national treatment to foreign investors. The Government established “Invest in Norway,” an official investment promotion agency to help attract and assist foreign investors. It provides information, assesses regional opportunities, connects potential investors to relevant networks, and facilitates investment processes, including in the key offshore energy sector. While not a member of the EU, Norway is an EEA signatory and continues to liberalize its foreign investment legislation to conform more closely to EU standards. Current laws, rules, and practices follow below.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Norway’s investment policies vis-á-vis third countries, including the United States, will likely continue to be governed by reciprocity principles and by bilateral and international agreements. The EEA free trade agreement, which came into force for Norway in 1994, requires the country to apply principles of national treatment to EU members and the other EEA members – Iceland and Liechtenstein – in certain areas where foreign investment was prohibited or restricted in the past. Norway’s investment regime is generally based on the national treatment principles, but ownership restrictions exist on some natural resources and on some activities (fishing/ maritime/ road transport). State ownership in companies can be used as a means of ensuring national control and domicile for these firms.

Government Monopolies

Norway has traditionally barred foreign and domestic investors alike from investing in certain ‘public’ industries, including postal services, railways, and the retail sale of alcohol. In 2004, Norway slightly relaxed the restrictions, allowing foreign companies to bid on certain commercial postal services (e.g., air express services between countries) and railway cargo services (notably between Norway and Sweden). In 2016, the government initiated a reform of the railway sector leading to the first railway line opening for competition in 2018, with contracts being awarded to British and Swedish operators. The government has a mandate to allow foreign investment in hydropower (limited to 20 percent of equity), but rarely does so. However, the government has fully opened the electricity distribution system to foreign participation; foreign ownership interests are relatively limited, but increasing. Some foreign companies have been granted trading licenses in Norway and there is a growing number of foreign stakeholders that have invested in Norwegian wind and small-scale power production.

Ownership of Real Property

Foreign investors may generally own real property, though ownership of certain real assets is restricted. Companies must obtain a concession to acquire rights to own or use various kinds of natural resources, including forests, mines, tilled land, and waterfalls. Foreign companies need not seek concessions to rent real estate (e.g., commercial facilities or office space), provided the rental contract period does not exceed ten years. The two major laws governing concessions are the Act of December 14, 1917, and the Act of May 31, 1974. The updated 2019 National Security Act includes authority for the government to block foreign investments on national security grounds.

Energy Industries

The Petroleum Act of November 1996 (superseding the 1985 Petroleum Act) sets forth the legal basis for Norwegian authorities’ awards of petroleum exploration rights, production blocks and follow-up activity. The Act covers governmental control over exploration, production, and transportation of petroleum.

Foreign oil companies report no discrimination in the award of petroleum exploration and development blocks in recent licensing rounds. The Norwegian government has implemented EU directives requiring equal treatment of EEA oil and gas companies. The Norwegian offshore concession system complies with EU directive 94/33/EU of May 30, 1994, which governs conditions for awards and hydrocarbon development. Norway’s concession process operates on a discretionary basis, with the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy awarding licenses based on which company or group of companies it views will be the best overall operator for a particular field, rather than purely competitive bids. Recent years have seen a shift in the composition of license holders and operators on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) as the shelf matures. Although several leading global energy companies, including from the United States, have left Norway as they rearrange their global asset portfolios, several U.S. companies remain active on the NCS.

The Norwegian government has dismantled former tight controls over the gas pipeline transit network that carries gas to the European market. All gas producers and operators on the NCS are free to negotiate gas sales contracts on an individual basis, with access to the gas export pipeline network guaranteed.

Norwegian authorities encourage the use of Norwegian goods and services in the offshore petroleum sector, but do not require it. The Norwegian share of the total supply of goods and services on the NCS has remained at approximately 50 percent over the last decade.

In September 2022, the Norwegian government introduced four legislative tax proposals that introduced a ground rent tax on onshore wind power generation, increased the tax on hydropower generation, and imposed a windfall tax on wind and hydropower in response to soaring electricity prices. U.S. and other investors have expressed concern over aspects of the ground rent tax proposal on onshore wind, which they see as drastic and having negative, retroactive effects in a nascent industry. As of March 31, 2023, the proposals have yet to be enacted by Parliament.

Following the 2022 passage in the United States of the Inflation Reduction Act, there is increasing pressure on the Norwegian government to create similar tax incentives for green investments in Norway. No new policies have been announced as of March 2023.

Manufacturing Sector

Norwegian legislation granting national treatment to foreign investors in the manufacturing sector dates from 1995. Foreign investors are not required to obtain government authorization before buying shares of Norwegian corporations.

Financial and Other Services

In 2004, the Norwegian government liberalized restrictions on acquisitions of equity in Norwegian financial institutions. Current regulations delegate responsibility for acquisitions to the Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority to streamline the process. Financial Supervisory Authority permission is required for acquisitions of Norwegian financial institutions that exceed defined qualified ownership levels (20, 30 or 50 percent). The Authority assesses the acquisitions to ensure that prospective buyers are financially stable and that the acquisition does not unduly limit competition.

The Authority applies national treatment to foreign financial groups and institutions, but nationality restrictions still apply to banks. At least half the members of the board and half the members of the corporate assembly of a bank must be nationals and permanent residents of Norway or another EEA country. There is no ceiling on foreign equity in a Norwegian financial institution if the Authority has granted permission for the acquisition.

The Finance Ministry has abolished all restrictions on the establishment of branches by foreign financial institutions, including banks, mutual funds, and others. Under the liberalized regime, Norway grants branches of U.S. and other foreign financial institutions the same treatment as domestic institutions.

Media and Entertainment

In 2016 the Media Ownership Act has been abolished; ownership of the media is currently monitored by the Competition Authority. No individual party, domestic or foreign, may control more than 1/3 of the national newspaper, radio and/or television markets without a concession. National treatment is granted in line with Norway’s obligations under the EEA agreement. Broadcasting and audiovisual on-demand services are regulated by the Broadcasting Act which contains provisions on access to broadcasting (obligation to license), rules on advertising, sponsorship and product placement, retransmissions on cable networks, dissemination obligations, and general provisions on the organization of national broadcaster, NRK. The Broadcasting Act is largely based on the European Directive on Audiovisual Media Services 2010/13/EU (AMT Directive).

Investment Screening

Over the past few years, national security concerns have increased with regard to high-risk foreign investments and transactions. A new Security Act entered into force on January 1, 2019, Chapter 10 of which, titled “Ownership Control,” contains rules on the screening and approval of investments and transactions related to Norwegian companies. Each relevant Norwegian ministry decides if the Act should apply wholly or partly to transactions that either: (i) involve classified information, (ii) control information, information systems, objects, or critical infrastructure for national functions, or (iii) are engaged in activities of crucial importance for fundamental national functions. The Norwegian rules on ownership control apply to both foreign and domestic acquirers without discrimination. There is an ongoing process to amend the Security Act to give the authorities a better overview of changes in ownership in Norwegian businesses and clarify the rules for stopping unwanted sales to foreign actors. The government used the Act in March 2021 to block the sale of a marine engine manufacturer to a Russian investor on national security grounds. The Norwegian government set up an interagency taskforce in 2022 to further improve rules and procedures to track investments into high-risk industries that are considered critical to Norway’s national security.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

International Monetary Fund: Norway: 2022 Article IV Consultation- Staff Report: 

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) conducted an Economic Survey for Norway in 2022: 

The OECD conducted an Environmental Performance Review: Norway 2022: 

And, the OECD also conducted a Peer Review of Norway in 2019: 

The International Energy Agency in-depth peer policy review covering climate change, energy efficiency, renewables, energy markets, prices and taxes, regulation and competition, as well as energy technology and innovation. Norway 2022 Energy Policy Review: 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) conducted a Trade Policy Review for Norway in 2018: 

Business Facilitation is a web portal that serves as a one-stop-shop for establishing a company and contains the necessary forms; it also provides an electronic platform for dialogue among the business/industry sector, citizens and other stakeholders, and government agencies. The business registration processes are straight-forward, complete, and open to foreign companies. However, that registration of Norwegian Registered Foreign Business Enterprises (NUF) cannot be done electronically. Guides for establishing a business are available at the following addresses:  and 

Outward Investment

The government does not directly incentivize outward investment. However, it acknowledges that for Norwegian companies to be successful, they need to grow in markets and economies that are larger than Norway, so the trade and investment promotion agency, Innovation Norway, has offices in 32 foreign markets, including in Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, the second largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, is administered by Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM). It owns almost 1.5 percent shares of all the world’s listed companies with 43 percent of its investments in the United States.

Norway has concluded bilateral investment treaties with 18 countries. These agreements contain provisions for repatriation of capital, dispute settlement, and standards for expropriation and nationalization by the host country. Norway and other members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland – have 29 joint free trade agreements covering investment protection provisions. Additionally, the EFTA is currently negotiating 7 free trade agreements. Current agreements and progress of negotiations can be seen here: . The agreements cover trade in goods and services, investment protections, dispute settlement, and other issues generally found in bilateral investment accords.

The Norwegian government initiated a tax reform in 2016, gradually reducing the income and corporate tax rates from 28 percent to 22 percent in 2019. In 2021, Norway became a member of the OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, and the government is party to the Inclusive Framework’s October 2021 agreement concerning the two-pillar solution to global tax challenges, including a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent.

Norway signed a bilateral taxation treaty with the United States in 1971, which can be found at: .

Transparency of the Regulatory System

The transparency of Norway’s regulatory system is generally on par with that of the EU. Norway is obliged to adopt EU directives under the terms of the EEA accord in the areas of social policy, consumer protection, environment, company law, and statistics.

The Norwegian Accounting Act, in line with EU Directive 2014/95/EU, requires Norwegian public companies and other large companies to publish annual reports on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. ESG implementation is receiving increasing public attention and support, and companies with strong ESG profiles may experience a competitive advantage. Norway introduced legislation presenting social reporting requirements in 2013 through the introduction of section 3-3 of the Norwegian Accounting Act, with reporting requirements going into effect in 2018. In addition, effective July 1, 2021, section 3-3 of the Norwegian Accounting Act was slightly modified to include key ESG factors such as human rights, employee rights, social conditions, external environment, and combatting of corruption, as well as gender equality and non-discrimination.

All draft bills are made available for comment through a public consultation process. The Norwegian parliament, the Storting, exercises legislative power in Norway and must approve all formal laws (acts, directives, and regulations). Draft bills are available at: . Norwegian laws and regulations are available at: .

Norway’s public finances and debt obligations are transparent. The Government publishes the National Budget and revised budget on the website  and an annual White Paper to Parliament on the State’s account: .

The Ministry of Finance has a webpage on Government debt: .

International Regulatory Considerations

Norway is a member of the EEA and as such implements applicable EU directives under the terms of the agreement.

Norway is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and notifies draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

The Norwegian legal system is similar to that of other Nordic countries but does not consist of a single comprehensive civil code. Norwegian law is based on the principle of freedom of contract, subject only to limited restrictions. Contracts, whether oral or written, are generally binding on the parties.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Norway welcomes foreign investment as a matter of policy and generally grants national treatment to foreign investors. Ownership restrictions exist on some natural resources and on some activities (fishing/maritime road transport).

A new National Security Act entered into force on January 1, 2019, and provides the legal foundation for enhanced government screening of foreign investments based on national security concerns. Norway’s legal system is robust and trusted.

Competition and Antitrust Laws

Current legislation governing competition went into effect in 2004 and is enforced by the Norwegian Competition Authority (NCA), which is an independent regulatory agency whose activities are based on laws adopted by the Norwegian parliament, the government, and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. Through the EEA Agreement, competition rules mirroring those of the EU are implemented and enforced in Norway. The NCA is authorized to conduct non-criminal proceedings and impose fines, or “infringement fees,” for anti-competitive behavior. The size of the fees may vary according to a number of factors, including company turnover and severity of the offense. The 2004 legislation also empowers the NCA to halt mergers or acquisitions that threaten to significantly weaken competition. Companies planning such transactions are generally obliged by law to report their plans to the NCA, which may conduct a review. However, if the combined annual turnover in Norway does not exceed Norwegian Krone (NOK) 1 billion ($97 million) or the annual turnover of one of the companies is less than NOK 100 million ($9.7 million), notification is not required. The NCA’s decisions may be appealed to the Norwegian Competition Tribunal.

Public Procurements

Pursuant to its obligations under the EEA Agreement, Norway implemented EU legislation on public procurements on January 1, 1994. Norway is also a signatory to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). The EEA/EU legislation and WTO agreement oblige Norway to follow internationally recognized, transparent procedures for public procurements above certain threshold values; all related contracts must be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and in the EU’s Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) databank. Norway instituted an electronic notice database more than a decade ago and currently transmits all tender notices electronically through this database to the TED system.

The rules apply to procurement by the central government, regional or local authorities, bodies governed by public law, or associations formed by one or more such entities. In addition, special
rules apply to the procurement by certain entities in the “utilities” sectors of water, energy, transport, and telecommunications.

Public agencies must publish general annual plans for purchases of goods and services, as well as general information on any major building and construction projects planned. No later than two months after a contract has been awarded, a notice must be published stating which company won the contract. All notices must be published in an EU language.

Discriminatory technical specifications may not be used to tailor contracts for a local or national supplier. Any technical standards applied in the procurement process must be national standards that are harmonized with European standards. If no such standards exist, other international or national standards may be applied. All specifications that are to be used in evaluating tenders must be included in the notice or in the invitation to tender.

In general, public procurements are non-discriminatory and based on open, competitive bidding, with the exception, notably, in defense procurements where national security concerns may be considered.

The Public Procurement Complaints Board (KOFA), an independent review body, offers suppliers an inexpensive complaint process for bid challenges. The board can issue “non-binding opinions” and review the legality of the procurement in question. More serious disputes may be taken before the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA), or the courts, but such litigation process can be lengthy.

U.S. pharmaceutical companies have complained about unauthorized disclosures of confidential pricing data by the national health care system and its procurement agency in recent years. In November 2022, a Norwegian court affirmed the validity of a tender awarded by the Norwegian hospital procurement agency despite the Public Procurement Complaints Board stating the unauthorized disclosure of confidential pricing data arguably violated trade secret protections. The court’s decision has raised concerns among U.S. pharmaceutical companies that Norway is not taking sufficient steps to ensure that confidential pricing data and other trade secrets will be respected.

Expropriation and Compensation

There have been no cases of questionable expropriation in recent history. Government takings of property are generally limited to non-discriminatory land and property condemnation for public purposes (road construction, etc.). The Embassy is not aware of any cases in which compensation has not been prompt, adequate, and effective.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Norway has ratified principal international agreements governing arbitration and settlement of investment disputes, including the 1958 New York Convention and the 1965 Washington Convention establishing the World Bank Group-based International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The UN-based New York Convention requires courts of contracting states to recognize and enforce arbitration awards made in other contracting states.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

Norway is party to 15 Bilateral Investment Treaties and 32 Treaties with Investment Provisions. The Embassy is not aware of any unresolved disputes between any U.S. investors and the Government of Norway.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

Norway’s legal system provides effective means for enforcing property and contractual rights.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Norway has strong bankruptcy laws and is ranked 5 out of 190 for ease of “resolving insolvency” on the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business report. According to the World Bank, the average duration for bankruptcy proceedings in Norway is half that of the OECD, at just under a year. A new temporary Restructuring Act entered into force on May 11, 2020, making the judicial restructuring process applicable to companies in financial difficulties. The Act, which was adopted in response to the economic consequences of the global Covid-19 pandemic, replaces the National Bankruptcy Act until July 1, 2023.

Investment Incentives

Norway’s SkatteFUNN research and development (R&D) tax incentive scheme is a government program designed to stimulate R&D; relevant businesses that are subject to taxation in Norway are eligible to apply for tax relief.

For more information, see:

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

Norway has no foreign trade zones and does not currently have plans to establish any.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

Norway generally does not impose performance requirements on foreign investors, nor offer significant general tax incentives for either domestic or foreign investors. There is an exception, however, for investments in sparsely settled northern Norway where reduced payroll taxes and other incentives apply. There are no free-trade zones, although taxes are minimal on Svalbard, a remote Arctic archipelago, which is subject to special treaty provisions but administered by Norway. 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.

Norway does not require “forced localization,” nor imposes requirements on data storage.

Real Property

Norway recognizes secured interests in property, both movable and real. The system for recording interests in property is recognized and reliable. Norway maintains an open and effective legal and judicial system that protects and facilitates acquisition and disposition of rights in property, including land, buildings, and mortgages.

Intellectual Property Rights

Norway adheres to key international agreements for the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) (e.g., the Paris Union Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Berne Copyright Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention of 1952, and the Rome Convention). It has notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of its main IPR laws. Norway’s IPR statutes cover the major areas referred to in the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

The chief domestic statutes governing IPR include: the Patents Act of December 15, 1967, as amended; the Designs Act of March 14, 2003; the Copyrights Act of May 12, 1961, as amended; the Layout-design Act of June 15, 1990, as amended; the Marketing Act of January 9, 2009; and the Trademarks Act of March 26, 2010. The above legislation also protects trade secrets and industrial designs, including semiconductor chip layout design. As an EEA member, Norway adopted legislation intended to implement the 2001 EU Copyright Directive, though subsequent court cases exposed shortcomings in the legislation (see below).


Norway was placed on the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR’s) Special 301 Watch List in 2008 due to concerns about pharmaceutical patent protection but has not been listed since 2013. Norway is not on the Notorious Markets List.


In June 2005 Norway enacted legislation based on the EU’s 2001 Copyright Directive to combat internet piracy, but subsequent court cases showed that the law did not provide sufficient grounds for enforcement. Norway passed a modernized Copyright Act in 2018. The Act clarifies the process for gaining access to infringers’ identifying information and introducing a site-blocking mechanism. Positive developments on the enforcement side are complemented by the growing popularity of legal streaming alternatives like Spotify, Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, and HBO.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods

Norway does not expressly ban imports or exports of counterfeit or pirated goods for private use or consumption. However, import or export for resale or other commercial purpose is controlled by Norwegian Customs and rights-holders are notified of infringements. Customs may seize and hold suspected counterfeit goods for up to five working days, during which time rightsholders may decide to proceed with an injunction or other settlement. If the rightsholder does not pursue the case or respond to the notice, the goods are released to the importer (unless considered harmful). By comparison, Customs officials in the EU have wider powers to seize, hold, and destroy counterfeit shipments. In 2010, Norwegian Customs established an IPR office to coordinate training and increase awareness. In 2015, the Norwegian government launched a new website and an awareness campaign titled “Choose the Real Deal” (


The Norwegian government does not consider itself obligated, under the EEA Agreement, to implement the EU Enforcement Directive. Rightsholders report that law enforcement authorities have begun to investigate major copyright infringement cases, resulting in the closing of several internet sites facilitating infringement. However, rightsholders contend that the authorities still do not give adequate priority to copyright and internet piracy cases.

Resources for Rightsholders

For additional information about national laws and points of contact at local IP office, please see WIPO’s country profiles at . Norwegian Industrial Property Office: . A list of local lawyers is available at

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Norway has a highly computerized banking system that provides a full range of banking services, including internet banking. There are no significant impediments to the free market-determined flow of financial resources. Foreign and domestic investors have access to a wide variety of credit instruments. The financial regulatory system is transparent and consistent with international norms. The Oslo Stock Exchange, which was acquired by Europe’s largest stock exchange Euronext in 2019, facilitates portfolio investment and securities transactions in general.

Money and Banking System

Norwegian banks are generally considered to be on a sound financial footing. and the banking sector holds approximately $600 billion in assets. Conservative asset/liquidity requirements limited the exposure of banks to the global financial crisis in 2008-2009. The Central Bank reduced the requirement for banks’ countercyclical capital buffer from 2.5 percent to 1.0 percent in 2020. However, a decision has been made to return the buffer rate gradually to 2.5 percent, effective from 31 March 2023, to strengthen banks’ solvency and mitigate the risk that banks’ lending standards amplify the economic downturn.

Foreign banks have been permitted to establish branches in Norway since 1996.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

Norway’s currency is the Norwegian Krone. Dividends, profits, interest on loans, debentures, mortgages, and repatriation of invested capital are freely and fully remissible, subject to Central Bank reporting requirements. Ordinary payments from Norway to foreign entities can normally be made without formalities through commercial banks. Norway is a member of the Financial Action Task Force and has a floating exchange rate.

Remittance Policies

See above, no restrictions.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), was established in 1990 and was valued at NOK 12.429 trillion ($1.203 trillion) at the end of 2022. The management mandate requires the fund to be invested widely, outside Norway. Petroleum revenues are invested in global stocks and bonds, and the current portfolio includes approximately 9,228 companies. GPFG owns on average 1.5 percent of those stocks. The fund is invested across four asset classes. The fund aims to invest in most markets, countries, and currencies to achieve broad exposure to global economic growth. Forty-three percent of the fund’s investments in 2022 were in the United States, which is its single largest market. The fund plays an active role in its investments and aims to vote in almost all general shareholder meetings.

In 2004, Norway adopted ethical guidelines for GPFG investments that prohibit investment in companies engaged in various forms of weapons production, environmental degradation, tobacco production, human rights violations, and what it terms “other particularly serious violations of fundamental ethical norms.” In March 2019, the Norwegian government announced that companies classified by index provider FTSE Russell as being in the subsector “0533 Exploration & Production” in the sector “0001 Oil & Gas” no longer would be part of the GPFG portfolio. Investments in renewable and sustainable energy sources as well as oil & gas divisions within a company, may still be included. The fund divested from 74 companies in 2022 following ESG risks assessments. Twenty-five of the divestment decisions involved companies that entered the Fund’s benchmark index during 2022. Altogether, the fund’s management has made 440 divestment decisions since 2012.

On February 28, 2022, as a result of international sanctions against Russia, the Ministry of Finance instructed the fund’s management to freeze all its investments in Russia and prepare a plan for the complete divestment of the fund from the Russian market.

The ethical guidelines also highlight seven positive focus areas in term of sustainability: children’s rights, climate change, water management, human rights, tax and transparency, anti-corruption, and ocean sustainability. The fund adheres to the Santiago Principles and is a member of the IMF-hosted International Working Group on Sovereign Wealth Funds.

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). Seventy-one 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. The Norwegian state owns assets worth approximately NOK 1,179 billion ($112 billion), through diverse companies that employ more than 300,000 people. Private ownership is the main rule in Norwegian business and industry, but state ownership, together with other public ownership, makes a significant contribution to national ownership in Norway. Successive Norwegian governments have sustained stable levels of strong, transparent, and predictable government ownership. All stock exchange listed companies, and an important number of the non-listed, compete in the international market, including the United States.

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. The Norwegian government publishes the annual state ownership report, available in English here:  and a white paper on state ownership in companies available here: .

In October 2022, the government introduced a white paper on a Greener and More Active State Ownership — The State’s direct ownership of companies: .

Privatization Program

Norway has no current plans to privatize any SOEs.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is very much part of Norwegian corporate and political consciousness. Significant attention has been given to ethical and sustainable business practices over the last several years; the Norwegian government has issued a series of white papers, most recently in 2015, on promoting human rights through foreign policy and foreign development assistance. In 2009, a white paper laid out responsibility of Norwegian businesses in the global economy and in 2006-2007, the Norwegian government set down guidelines for ethical and responsible conduct in state-owned enterprises, and incorporated climate policy, procurement policy, and development policy as parts of the Norwegian government’s broader CSR vision.

The Norwegian Accounting Act requires companies listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange to provide a report on their policies and practices for corporate governance. The Norwegian Corporate Governance Board, composed of nine independent organizations, issues and updates the Norwegian Code of Practice for the above-mentioned companies. Transparency and disclosure are key to the development of corporate social responsibility. Large enterprises are required under Section 3-3c of the Accounting Act to report on their CSR activities. Public disclosure requirements are increasingly regulated. The work of the EU in this area may lead to the development of regulations of relevance to Norway.

Norway has played an active role in the preparation of The OECD Guidelines for Due Diligence for Responsible Business Conduct. The Norwegian government expects companies with international operations to be aware and comply with the guidelines and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In accordance with OECD guidelines, the Norwegian National Contact Pont (NCP) was established as an independent expert advisory body. The NCP follows Norwegian legislation, including the Public Administration Act and the Freedom of Information Act. The NCP has achieved significant visibility and legitimacy in Norwegian public debates and media. More information: .

Other initiatives where Norway participates and supports to help business actors to systematize their work on responsible business conduct:

  • United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP)
  • OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
  • OECD sector guidelines
  • United Nations Global Compact
  • United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI)
  • The Equator Principles (EP)
  • IFC Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability
  • OECD Guidance on Due Diligence for Responsible Trade in Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas
  • OECD Guidelines for Helping Prevent Violent Conflict
  • OECD – Risk awareness Tool for Multinational Enterprises in Weak Governance Zones
  • The Kimberly Process
  • ILO Tripartite Declaration on Multinational Enterprises’ Social Responsibility
  • Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
  • SA 8000
  • ISO 26000
  • The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
  • Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)
  • Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (Emas)
  • Eco-Lighthouse
  • Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Norway is a signatory of The Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies, a supporter of the International Code of Conduct or Private Security Service Providers, and a participant in the related Association (ICoCA).

In order to prevent tax evasion and the use of tax havens to conceal financial information, large enterprises and public-interest entities that are active in the extractive industry or in the logging of primary forests are required to report on a country-by-country basis. In addition, Norway has entered into a number of new bilateral tax information exchange agreements in recent years.

Additional Resources
Department of State

Department of the Treasury

Department of Labor

Climate Issues

Norway aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030, and to become a low-emission country by 2050. The Climate Act sets the emissions target for 2050 to be reduced by 95 percent and introduces a quinquennial reporting cycle to the Parliament according to the principles of the Paris Agreement. To achieve its climate targets, the Government provides financial incentives to invest in green technologies:

Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) is the country’s most important international endeavor to mitigate climate change through the protection of the world’s rainforests. Through the initiative, launched in 2008, Norway has pledged up to 3 billion NOK ($285 million) a year to help save the world’s tropical forests. NICFI is administered by the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment in collaboration with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

Norwegian laws, regulations, and white papers on climate and environment can be accessed at: .

In 2021, Norway ranked 11th out of 34 countries in the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation’s (ITIF) Global Energy Innovation Index (GEII) , which provides a multifaceted assessment of national contributions to the global clean energy innovation system.

Business is generally conducted “above the table” in Norway, and Norway ranks fourth out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index.  Corrupt activity by Norwegian or foreign officials is a criminal offense under Norway’s Penal Code. Norway’s anti-corruption laws cover illicit activities overseas, subjecting Norwegian nationals/companies who bribe officials in foreign countries to criminal penalties in Norwegian courts. In 2008, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched an anti-corruption initiative, focused on limiting corruption in international development efforts.

Norway is a member of the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption watchdog Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and ratified the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption in 2004, without any reservations. Norway has ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention (2006) and is a signatory of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery.

Resources to Report Corruption

The Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (ØKOKRIM)
(Mailing) Address: Postboks 2096 Vika, 0125 Oslo
Telephone: +47 23 29 10 00

Contact at “watchdog” organization:
Guro Slettemark (Secretary General)
Transparency International Norge
Address: Kristian Augusts gate 14, 0164 Oslo
Telephone: +47 908 74 626

Norway is a vibrant, stable democracy. Violent political protests or incidents are extremely rare, as are politically motivated attacks on foreign commercial projects or property. On February 13, 2023, the Norwegian Intelligence Services, the Police Security Service and the National Security Authority published their respective Annual Threats and Risk Assessment reports. The documents reflect the unpredictable conditions since the start of the Russian war in Ukraine, making national security and preparedness more demanding. They address the security situation, and the complex threats Norway has been dealing with over the past year, such as intelligence activity, strategic acquisitions, or possible acts of sabotage. In 2022, foreign actors tried to invest and buy Norwegian businesses and real estate to obtain sensitive information and acquire strategically important technology. Norway experienced close to 50 cases, about two-thirds of which had ties to Russia and China. In the current security policy climate, with extensive sanctions against Russia, the risk of economic instruments being used with hostile intentions increases.

Obtaining work permits for foreign labor, particularly for semi-skilled workers, can be cumbersome.

Skilled and semi-skilled labor is usually available in Norway. The labor force as of year-end 2022 totaled approximately 2.94 million persons, representing 72.6 percent of the working-age population. 2.849 million persons were employed at year end 2022 (72.3 percent of male labor force and 67.3 percent of female labor force), with unemployment at 3.3 percent.

Union membership is in excess of 1.97 million persons, 68 percent of the labor force. The unions are independent of the government but some, such as the largest labor organization, Landsorganisasjonen (LO), have close and historic ties with the Labor Party. Norway has a highly centralized and constructive system of collective bargaining. The government may impose mandatory wage arbitration should strikes threaten key sectors of the economy, particularly the oil and gas and transportation sectors. Mandatory wage arbitration has been used 120 times since 1953, most recently in 2021 to end a strike among municipality workers ranging from nurses and teachers to janitors. And in July 2022, when the government proposed a compulsory wage arbitration to resolve the dispute between the trade union Norwegian Organization of Managers and Executives and Norwegian Oil and Gas in connection to the yearly basic settlement.

Employee benefits are relatively generous, including one year paid parental leave (shared between parents, and financed chiefly by the government), and unemployment benefits for up to 104 weeks. There are special provisions for layoffs linked to lower activity for the employer.

The average number of hours worked per week in one’s primary job, 33.6 in 2020, is the third lowest in the OECD, after the Netherlands and Denmark. Productivity, however, is high – significantly higher than the EU average.

Norwegian blue-collar hourly earnings are comparatively high. High wages encourage the use of relatively capital-intensive technologies in Norwegian industry. Top-level executives and highly skilled engineers, on the other hand, are generally paid considerably less than their U.S. counterparts, which, when combined with relatively high wages at the bottom of the wage scale, contributes to Norway’s very high level of income equality relative to other OECD countries.

DFC does not operate in Norway. However, Norway is a member of the World Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

On July 1, 2021, Export Credit Norway and The Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency (GIEK) merged into Export Finance Norway (Eksportfinansiering Norge, or Eksfin). Eksfin is now a government entity, a so-called administrative enterprise, with the purpose of efficiently managing financing and guarantee schemes for value-added exports. Eksfin can provide government loans and guarantees for promoting specific sales contracts abroad, investments in Norway that contribute to exports, or other transactions that help to generate value and employment within Norway. Their financing and guarantees do not compete with private banks and are provided in addition to, and often as part of financing from private institutions in Norway and abroad.

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy
Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount  
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (USD) 2022 $536 billion 2021 $482 billion
Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical source* USG or international statistical source USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2021 $24 billion 2021 $30.6 billion BEA data available at
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) 2021 $26.5  billion 2021 $32.5 billion BEA data available at
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP  2021 34.5% 2021 31.1% UNCTAD data available at

* Source for Host Country Data: Statistics Norway 

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data
From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)
Inward Direct Investment Outward Direct Investment
Total Inward 159,680 100% Total Outward 205,852 100%
Sweden 37,137 23.3% Sweden 32,444 15.8%
Luxembourg 17,966 11.3% United States 32,278 15.7%
The Netherlands 13,846 8.7% The Netherlands 22,331 10.8%
Denmark 12,750 8% Denmark 16,792 8.2%
United Kingdom 11,563 7.2% Spain 10,691 5.2%
“0” reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Political-Economic Section
Embassy of the United States of America
Morgedalsvegen 36
0378 Oslo

On This Page

  2. 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
    1. Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
    2. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
      1. Government Monopolies
      2. Ownership of Real Property
      3. Energy Industries
      4. Manufacturing Sector
      5. Financial and Other Services
      6. Media and Entertainment
      7. Investment Screening
    3. Other Investment Policy Reviews
    4. Business Facilitation
    5. Outward Investment
  3. 2. Bilateral Investment and Taxation Treaties
  4. 3. Legal Regime
    1. Transparency of the Regulatory System
    2. International Regulatory Considerations
    3. Legal System and Judicial Independence
    4. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
    5. Competition and Antitrust Laws
    6. Public Procurements
    7. Expropriation and Compensation
    8. Dispute Settlement
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
    9. Bankruptcy Regulations
  5. 4. Industrial Policies
    1. Investment Incentives
    2. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
    3. Performance and Data Localization Requirements
  6. 5. Protection of Property Rights
    1. Real Property
    2. Intellectual Property Rights
      1. Patents
      2. Copyright
      3. Counterfeit and Pirated Goods
      4. Enforcement
      5. Resources for Rightsholders
  7. 6. Financial Sector
    1. Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
    2. Money and Banking System
    3. Foreign Exchange and Remittances
      1. Foreign Exchange
      2. Remittance Policies
    4. Sovereign Wealth Funds
  8. 7. State-Owned Enterprises
    1. Privatization Program
  9. 8. Responsible Business Conduct
    1. Climate Issues
  10. 9. Corruption
  11. 10. Political and Security Environment
  12. 11. Labor Policies and Practices
  13. 12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
  14. 13. Foreign Direct Investment Statistics
  15. 14. Contact for More Information
2023 Investment Climate Statements: Norway
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