The EEA Agreement states that there should be free movement of goods within the areas covered by the Agreement.
The rules on the free movement of goods forbid various kinds of barrier to trade. Typical barriers to trade might be various taxes and import and export restrictions. All taxes or equivalent economic burdens placed on goods because they cross a frontier are forbidden.
Goods covered by the EEA Agreement are also exempt from customs duty. This exemption is, however, conditional on the importer presenting proof that the goods originate within the EEA (Certificate of Origin). As the EEA Agreement does not mean inclusion in the EU Customs Union, a customs declaration is still required at borders between Norway and the EU.
The Act on the labelling of consumer goods stipulates among other things that the goods should carry information on their properties, what they are made of, their energy consumption, quality etc. There are exhaustive rules in a number of regulations.
The Product Liability Act lays down rules concerning liability when products cause injury or damage, and places requirements on suppliers, producers and importers to exercise care.
The Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency(Klif) administers and applies the Product Control Act.
The Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) deals with the safety of products within the Product Control Act.
The food sector
Food in Norway has to be safe from a health point of view. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority lays down rules designed to ensure that nobody becomes ill from the food they eat. Anyone who produces, processes or sells food is responsible for complying with these rules. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority monitors compliance with the rules. Among other things, this involves inspections and monitoring of the production, processing and sale of food.
In the field of commerce, there are several restrictions linked to what can be imported and sold. These may concern e.g. weapons, fireworks, works of art, electrical and electronic goods, batteries, etc.
Sales tax is charged directly on specific goods and services such as alcohol, tobacco, motor vehicles, petrol, mineral oil/diesel, boat engines, electric power, heating oil, sugar, etc.
Requirements for sales permits
Sales of specific goods require special permits or authorisations, depending on what is being sold.
Barriers to trade
The SOLVIT system can help industry when conflicts arise in dealings with government authorities in EU/EEA countries.
Permits and authorisations
What permits and authorisations are required will depend on the type of business being run. An overview of the requirements, permits and authorisations to carry out an economic activity within the field of commerce can be found in Altinn. For each permit, there is information on the requirements that apply and the procedure for having the relevant permit issued.
There is no separate VAT number in Norway. The organisation number suffixed with the letters MVA (VAT) indicates that the enterprise is entered in the VAT Register. Only enterprises entered in the VAT Register can add the letters MVA to their organisation number. The rules for entry in the VAT Register are covered by the page on 'Paying taxes'.
The Bookkeeping Act lays down strict requirements for the content of invoices.
Because the EEA Agreement does not mean inclusion in the EU Customs Union, goods from Norway still have to be cleared through customs at the borders with the EU.
Norwegian Customs has information on export declarations.
An export declaration must be presented to the Norwegian customs authorities when goods are exported from Norway. A forwarder may help with this. The importer has to present a Certificate of Origin at the time of import. Such certificates of origin give the customs authorities in the destination country a basis for granting preferential customs treatment. The certificate of origin must be issued in the country of export.
Be aware that fishery and agricultural products are not covered by the exemption from duty that applies to other industrial products. Separate agreements therefore cover trade in these goods. These are listed in the Annex to the EEA Agreement.
Provision of statistics
The information required on the import and export declaration provides the basis for the statistics drawn up by Statistics Norway.
The statistics are intended to cover the industry's need for data to plan production, sales and marketing. They also provide a basis for forecasting and analysis carried out by organisations, public authorities and research institutions.
Statistics Norway bears the main responsibility for drawing up the official statistics in Norway.
An unclear or inaccurate export document may create misunderstandings. Then the goods may be stopped at the border or somewhere else while in transit, and in the worst case, you may not be paid because the basis for payment is insufficient.
You can find further information on the following web sites:
Regelhjelp.no - Guidance on health and safety rules.
Altinn/Start and run a business, www.altinn.no, telephone: +47 800 33 840, is a toll-free national information service for people establishing and running a business. The aim is to make it easier to launch and run businesses in Norway.