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TRADE

Norway: Europe’s second most expensive country

Switzerland and Norway are the most expensive countries in Europe, according to new figures from statistics office Eurostat.

Norway: Europe's second most expensive country
Photo: Berit Keilen/Scanpix

In 2011, consumer goods and services in Switzerland came in at 62 percent above the European Union average, while Norwegian shoppers could expect to cough up 51 percent more than consumers in the EU.

Eurostat’s study is based on prices in the 27 EU member states, as well as European Free Trade Association (EFTA) members Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, acceding state Croatia, EU candidates Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey, along with potential candidates Albania and Bosnia.

Examining the prices of more than 2,400 goods and services, Eurostat found that Norway was the most expensive of the 37 countries in three of the four main consumer goods groups: food and non-alcoholic beverages; alcoholic beverages and tobacco; and footwear. Swiss shoppers meanwhile took the toughest hit for clothing costs.

For furniture, Norway was joined at the top by the UK, before again moving into a class of its own for pricey hotels and restaurants, as well as transport services.

At the other end of the scale, Macedonia was the least expensive country, followed by Albania and Bulgaria.

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TRADE

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. 

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