International trade rules

Export controls

What export controls limit international trade in defence and security articles? Who administers them?

Export of certain defence-related goods, technology and services, or services related to trade or assistance concerning the sale of such deliverables, or the development of another country’s military capability, are conditional on acquiring a licence from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in accordance with Regulation No. 718 of 19 June 2013 on the Export of Defence-related Products, Dual-use Items, Technology and Services, which only governs the export and import between Norway and other EEA countries.

The export of such products to the EEA is subject to general transfer licences covering specific product categories and recipients, global transfer licences covering specific defence-related product categories (and services) or recipients for a period of three years, and finally, individual transfer licences covering the export of a specific quantity or specific defence-related product to a recipient in one EEA state.

For countries other than those belonging to the EEA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs distinguishes between the following categories:

  • Group 1: the Nordic countries and members of NATO.
  • Group 2: countries not belonging to Group 1 that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have approved as recipients of arms.
  • Group 3: countries not belonging to Group 1 or 2 and to which Norway does not sell weapons or ammunition, but which can receive other goods as listed in Annex I of Regulation 2009/428/EC.
  • Group 4: countries that are located in an area with war, the threat of war, civil war or general political instability that warrants the deterrence of export of defence-related goods and services or that the United Nations, European Union or Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe sanctions. As member of the United Nations, Norway is a state party to the UN Arms Trade Treaty.

For export to Groups 1 to 3 (above), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may grant the following licences in accordance with their guidelines:

  • Export licence: valid for one year and for a single export of goods.
  • Service licence: valid for one year and for a single export of services.
  • Technology transfer licence: valid for one year and for a single export of technology.
  • Global export licence: valid for a maximum of three years and for one or several exports of one or several defence-related goods to one or several specific recipients outside of the EEA, within NATO or other countries of relations.
  • Project licence: valid for one or several exports of defence-related goods, services or technology to one or several collaboration partners or subcontractors in conjunction with development projects where a state within Group 1 is the final end user.

For Group 4, an export licence valid for one single export may be granted in certain situations.

As a member state of the EEA, Norway also adheres to the Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment, and has transposed its criteria listed in article 2 when assessing whether to grant a licence.

Domestic preferences

What domestic preferences are applied to defence and security procurements? Can a foreign contractor bid on a procurement directly?

Norwegian defence procurement is generally not conducted with domestic preference, and the possibility of making direct bids will vary with the rules governing the procurement procedure (see questions 1 to 3).

In accordance with FOSA article 3-2 and DAR’s preamble, all procurement shall as far as possible be based on competition, and the procuring authority shall not discriminate against a contractor owing to nationality or local affiliation. DAR section 34-2 allows the procuring authority to conduct the procurement without competition in certain specific circumstances similar to the exemptions from competition under ordinary EEA procurement law.

Further, Norway may deviate from Directive 2009/81/EC where the procurement has essential security interests and falls under EEA article 123, or warrants exception in accordance with the Regulation on Classified Procurement. Exemptions require approval from the Ministry of Defence.

The aforementioned exemptions may, under certain circumstances, result in the procuring authority allowing only Norwegian contractors to submit offers for the request of tender.

Favourable treatment

Are certain treaty partners treated more favourably?

Certain countries enjoy the benefit of bilateral security agreements, which eases the exchange and certification of contractors with regard to classified information related to procurements. Members of the EEA also have the advantage of a common transfer licence arrangement (see questions 22 and 37).


Are there any boycotts, embargoes or other trade sanctions between this jurisdiction and others?

Norway enforces mandatory UN and EU arms embargoes and sanctions.

Additionally, Norway enforces the embargo on Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh, which remains internationally recognised as being part of Azerbaijan, through its membership of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Trade offsets

Are defence trade offsets part of this country’s defence and security procurement regime? How are they administered?

Offset agreements are required in the procurement of defence and security articles from foreign contractors. This also includes contractors based in Norway if they produce essential parts of the delivery abroad. Exceptions to this rule are procurements that are:

  • conducted in accordance with the RPP;
  • conducted in accordance with FOSA, where the contractor (and most of its subcontractors) are located within the EEA. However, if the contractor is domiciled in the EEA but one of its subcontractors is not and the value of the subcontract exceeds 50 million Norwegian kroner, said subcontractor shall be made party to an offset agreement with the procuring authority; and
  • conducted with a contract price below 50 million kroner, provided that the contract does not include future options or additional procurement that may exceed this threshold or the procuring authority expects that the contractor will enter into several contracts below 50 million Norwegian kroner over a period of five years.

The procuring authority manages trade offsets by enclosing the provisions contained in the Regulation for Industrial Co-operation related to Defence Acquisitions from Abroad to the request for tender. The foreign contractor compiles a proposal on the offset requirement and delivers it to the Ministry of Defence or Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency. The offset agreement is a precondition for accepting the contractor’s tender. Consequently, the procuring authority conducts negotiations for the procurement contract, while the Ministry of Defence or Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency conducts simultaneous negotiations concerning the offset agreement.