Free Trade Agreements In A Small Open Country The Case Of Norway

Norway has also opened its foreign investment regime, in part because of new legislation designed to meet the requirements of Norway`s participation in the EEA. The new conditions apply only to EEA participants, particularly in real estate, financial services and industrial production companies. According to the report, Norway has announced its intention to apply, without discrimination, any future liberalisation of capital movements, which is required by the EEA Treaty. Although the Norwegian General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) contains a number of restrictions on financial services, these have been significantly liberalized in practice by the EEA agreement and Norway has decided to apply these provisions to all WTO members. While the traditional monopoly structure of the telecommunications sector is being replaced by a more competitive environment, Telenor AS, the public telecommunications operator, remains the dominant entity in the utility and terminal sector and has certain exclusive rights. The report states that the government will deregulate telecommunications networks and services in line with the EU timetable, by deregulating infrastructure and voice telephony by January 1998. Competition is already permitted for other basic telecommunications services and the telecommunications equipment market has been open since 1988. The Norwegian government`s policy aims to promote and maintain economic growth within the limits of the environment. Norway`s open economy, supported by a liberal trade policy, provides the means for economic growth and adaptability to an increasingly globalized economy. The government`s objective is to translate the positive effects of economic growth and trade into prosperity, full employment, equitable income distribution and improved social standards. Norway will also intensify efforts to promote trade with developing countries, for example by facilitating assistance to actions in the productive sector and developing trade skills and by making improvements to the Generalised Preference System (GSP), particularly for agricultural products and textiles. The current account surplus has increased over the past three years, with exports of goods increasing for both oil and gas and “traditional” exports, such as forestry and fisheries products.

The direction of trade has remained stable since the last revision, with the share of the European Union (EU) increasing statistically following the accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden.