Surplus in goods trade with the EU, deficit in the trade with services

In 2010, Norway exported goods to EU countries for NOK 321 billion more than we imported, while the trade in services with the EU resulted in a loss of NOK 15 billion. The positive trade balance with the EU is dominated by the high export earnings from the oil and gas industry. The negative service balance is due primarily to Norwegians’ travel to EU countries.

The balance of payment figures have been geographically distributed with a new method. For more information about the geographical breakdown of Norwegian export and import of goods, see External trade in goods.

Deficit in the service trade with Europe

Norway’s total international trade in services resulted in a surplus of NOK 17 billion in 2010. The surplus was NOK 20 billion lower than in 2009. However, service trade with the EU countries gave a deficit in both years. In 2010 we imported services for NOK 15 billion more than we exported. Imports of travel, the Norwegians’ spending on travel abroad, is the main cause of the negative service balance towards the EU. In 2010 Norwegians spent NOK 78 billion on travel in the EU, while visitors from other European countries spent NOK 25 billion in Norway. Besides the EU countries, Norway had a deficit in service trade with other European countries. With all other parts of the world there was a surplus in service trade. The surplus in the service balance was greatest towards the countries of Asia and Oceania; NOK 18 billion in 2010.

Neutral interest and transfers balance to the EU

Norway’s revenues in the form of wages, property income and transfers from the EU countries were NOK 93 billion in 2010. The equivalent cost from Norway to the EU was the same size. Norway’s current account to the EU, i.e. the sum of the goods and services balance and the income and transfers balance was thus NOK 307 billion in 2010.

New sources

The geographical breakdown is based on information from a variety of sources. The breakdown of the industry’s trade in services is based on reporting from a range of enterprises, while it was previously based on payment information from The Norwegian Central Bank. The greatest impact of this change has been on shipping, which now exports to North America to a lesser extent, and to a greater extent to the other continents. The reason is that freight revenues were previously broken down by information about the counterpart in settlement payments, while now calls in the various ports are the basis for calculating the country distribution of shipping.


Adding country as an extra dimension to the balance of payments increases the uncertainty in the figures. Caution should therefore be exercised when using the numbers, and they should be interpreted as an indication of the distribution and magnitude as opposed to absolute levels.

Source: Statistics Norway

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