Norway Post slapped with €11 million fine

Norway's postal service, Posten, was ordered on Wednesday to pay a fine of €11.112 million (83.87 million kroner, $14.54 million) after the EFTA court found it had abused its dominant market position.

Norway Post slapped with €11 million fine

Upholding a ruling from the EFTA Surveillance authority, the court of the European Free Trade Association said Norway Post had pursued an exclusivity strategy designed to keep competitors out of the lucrative market for business-to-consumer parcel services.

Noting that over-the-counter in-store services had become the predominant method for package delivery in Norway, the court said in a statement that "Norway Post’s share in the market remained close to or above 98 percent for the entirety of the relevant period."

The court said the anti-trust practices originated in framework agreements drawn up in 2001 with NorgesGruppen, Shell, Coop and Ica aimed at the establishment of a Post-in-Shop network.

Norway Post's deals with NorgesGruppen and Shell "specifically excluded competitors" from access to any outlets in those chains, the court said. 

In the cases of Coop and Ica, Posten was guaranteed exclusivity "in the outlets which hosted a Post-in-Shop."

These deals effectively precluded Posten's competitors from offering similar services in "approximately 50 percent of all outlets belonging to grocery store, kiosk and petrol station chains in Norway."

The court added that Norway Post is also facing an action for damages brought by its competitor DB Schenker/Privpak. That case is pending at the Oslo District Court.

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Norway and UK strike post-Brexit trade deal

Norway and the United Kingdom have struck an agreement on a free trade deal, the Norwegian government announced on Friday.

Norway and UK strike post-Brexit trade deal
Erna Solberg outside 10 Downing Street in 2019. (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN / POOL / AFP)

Negotiations over the agreement have been ongoing since last summer, and the Norwegian government said that the deal is the largest free trade agreement Norway has entered into, outside of the EEA agreement. 

“The agreement entails a continuation of all previous tariff preferences for seafood and improved market access for white fish, shrimp, and several other products,” the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement.  

One of the sticking points of the negotiations was Norway wanting more access to sell seafood in the UK, while the UK wanted more access to sell agricultural products like cheese.

The latter was a problem due to Norway having import protection against agricultural goods. 

“This agreement secures Norwegian jobs and value creation and marks an important step forward in our relationship with the UK after Brexit. This is a long-term agreement, which at the same time helps to accelerate the Norwegian economy,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a statement.  

 The United Kingdom is Norway’s second most important single market, after the EU. In 2020 Norwegian companies exported goods worth 135 billion kroner to the UK and imported around 42 billion kroner of goods from the UK. 

Norway has given Britain 26 quotas on agricultural products, but not for mutton and beef. The agreement does not increase the UK’s cheese quotas, state broadcaster NRK have reported. 

The agreement will still need to be signed by both the Norwegian and UK parliament.