Comprising Scandinavia’s western portion of Northern Europe, the Kingdom of Norway shipped US$82.8 billion worth of products around the globe in 2020. That figure represents a -7.5% slowdown since 2016 and a -19.4% decline from 2019 to 2020.
Applying a continental lens, 75.7% of Norway’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 16.2% were sold to Asian importers. Norway shipped another 5% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (1.8%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1%) then Oceania led by Australia (0.3%).
Norway’s Top 15 Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Norway’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. That is, countries that imported the most Norwegian shipments by dollar value during 2020. Also shown is each importing country’s percentage of total Norwegian exports.
- United Kingdom: US$14.5 billion (17.5% of total Norwegian exports)
- Germany: $9.7 billion (11.7%)
- Sweden: $8.2 billion (9.9%)
- Netherlands: $8.2 billion (9.9%)
- China: $6.4 billion (7.8%)
- France: $4.2 billion (5.1%)
- Denmark: $3.5 billion (4.2%)
- United States: $3.3 billion (4%)
- Belgium: $3.1 billion (3.8%)
- Poland: $2.3 billion (2.7%)
- Spain: $1.5 billion (1.8%)
- South Korea: $1.4 billion (1.7%)
- Turkey: $1.4 billion (1.7%)
- Finland: $1.3 billion (1.6%)
- Italy: $1.3 billion (1.5%)
Well over four-fifths (84.9%) of Norwegian exports in 2020 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Among Norway’s top importers that expanded their purchases from Norway at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020 were Turkey (up 68.5%), China (up 51.1%) and South Korea (up 23.5%).
Leading the year-over-year decliners were importers in Spain (down -35.1%), Germany (down -34.3%), France (down -30.1%) and the United Kingdom (down -29.5%).
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Norway incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- China: -US$3.4 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2020)
- United States: -$2.2 billion
- Canada: -$1.3 billion
- Italy: -$1.2 billion
- Russia: -$1.1 billion
- Denmark: -$942.1 million
- Brazil: -$839.2 million
- Poland: -$758.2 million
- Czech Republic: -$737.3 million
- Japan: -$689.6 million
Among Norway’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Norwegian deficits with Denmark (up 500.7%), Japan (up 65.6%), Canada (up 42.6%) and Vietnam (up 32.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
The severest reductions belong to Switzerland (down -12.5%) and Brazil (down -6.1%).
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Norway’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Norway to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Overall Norway generated a $1.4 billion trade surplus during 2020, down -91.8% from $16.9 billion in black ink one year earlier.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Norway garnered the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- United Kingdom: US$10.1 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2020)
- Netherlands: $5.4 billion
- Belgium: $1.8 billion
- France: $1.7 billion
- Turkey: $486.5 million
- Nigeria: $411.1 million
- South Korea: $353.6 million
- Germany: $304.5 million
- Iceland: $257.9 million
- Portugal: $212.9 million
Among Norway’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Norway went from a -$495.6 million deficit in 2019 to post a $353.6 million surplus for 2020. Similarly, Norwegian trade with Turkey reversed a -$103 million negative balance in 2019 to generate $486.5 million in black in in 2020.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Norway’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Norway to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Norwegian Trading Partners
Nine Norwegian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Norwegian 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)
See also Norway’s Top 10 Exports and Norway’s Top 10 Imports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Country Profiles. Accessed on February 20, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 20, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 20, 2021
Wikipedia, Norway. Accessed on February 20, 2021