Norway’s Top 10 Exports

Norway’s Top 10 Exports


Geographically its closest trading partners are Finland, Russia and Denmark, the Kingdom of Norway shipped US$102 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017, down by -34.4% since 2013 but up by 13.8% from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Norway’s exported goods plus services represent 36.4% of total Norwegian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, 82.1% of Norwegian exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 9.3% were sold to Asian importers. Norway shipped another 6% worth to North America with 1.5% arriving in Africa and 1% going to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.

Given Norway’s population of 5.3 million people, its total $102 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $19,200 for every resident in that country.

Norway’s unemployment rate was 4% as of February 2018 according to Trading Economics, down from 4.5% in December 2015.

Norway’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Norwegian global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Norway.

At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Norway’s most valuable export products are petroleum gases trailed by crude oil, fresh whole fish, refined petroleum oils then aluminum.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$58.3 billion (57.2% of total exports)
  2. Fish: $11 billion (10.8%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $4 billion (4%)
  4. Aluminum: $4 billion (3.9%)
  5. Electrical machinery, equipment: $2.7 billion (2.6%)
  6. Ships, boats: $1.6 billion (1.6%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.4 billion (1.4%)
  8. Iron, steel: $1.2 billion (1.1%)
  9. Organic chemicals: $1.1 billion (1%)
  10. Nickel: $904.4 million (0.9%)

Norway’s top 10 exports accounted for 84.5% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Aluminum was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 24.4% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was mineral fuels including oil which was up 22.8% led by improved international sales of petroleum gases and oils.

Norwegian iron and steel posted the third-fastest gain in value up 21.4%.

Optical, technical and medical apparatus led the decliners with a -18.5% drop in value year over year.


Overall Norway posted a $16.5 billion trade surplus during 2017, down -2.2% from $16.8 billion in black ink for 2016.

The following types of Norwegian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$54.5 billion (Up by 21.4% since 2016)
  2. Fish: $10.6 billion (Up by 5.1%)
  3. Aluminum: $2.7 billion (Up by 23.8%)
  4. Zinc: $498.7 million (Up by 34.3%)
  5. Iron, steel: $351.9 million (Up by 34.4%)
  6. Arms, ammunition: $280.4 million (Reversing a -$17.4 million deficit)
  7. Woodpulp: $222.9 million (Up by 17.2%)
  8. Organic chemicals: $162.6 million (Down by -25.3%)
  9. Gems, precious metals: $149 million (Down by -5.9%)
  10. Other base metals: $140.7 million (Up by 470.2%)

Norway has highly positive net exports in the international trade of mineral fuels-related products. In turn, these cashflows indicate Norway’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil category.


Below are exports from Norway that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Norway’s goods trail Norwegian importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Vehicles : -US$9.2 billion (Up by 16.7% since 2016)
  2. Machinery including computers: -$6.2 billion (Up by 23.4%)
  3. Articles of iron or steel: -$6 billion (Up by 198.2%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$4.9 billion (Up by 21.6%)
  5. Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: -$2.6 billion (Up by 10.2%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: -$2 billion (Up by 9.7%)
  7. Ships, boats: -$1.7 billion (Up by 66.5%)
  8. Pharmaceuticals: -$1.6 billion (Up by 31.4%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$1.2 billion (Up by 47%)
  10. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$1.2 billion (Up by 8.6%)

Norway has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for vehicles (notably cars, trucks, automobile parts and trailers).

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Norway’s competitive disadvantages in the international automotive market, but also represent key opportunities for Norway to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.


Norwegian Export Companies

Nine Norwegian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Norwegian export companies that Forbes included:

  • Norsk Hydro (aluminum)
  • Orkla (industrial conglomerates)
  • Statoil (oil, gas)
  • Telenor (telecommunications)
  • Yara International (specialized chemicals)

Wikipedia also lists exporters from Norway. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Cermaq (fish)
  • Norske Skogindustrier, (pulp, paper)
  • The Jotun Group (paints, related chemicals)
  • Thin Film Electronics ASA (printed electronics)
  • Tine (dairy products)
  • Yara International (chemicals)

Norway’s capital city is Oslo.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Norway’s Top 15 Trading Partners and Capital Facts for Oslo, Norway

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 8, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 8, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 8, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 8, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Norway. Accessed on April 8, 2018

Wikipedia, Norway. Accessed on April 8, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 8, 2018