Agriculture is the largest industry
99.14 percent of Norway's energy needs come from hydropower, which is very inexpensive. The metal industry is of the greatest economic importance. Although the raw materials for the aluminum industry have to be imported, Norway's share of global aluminum production is around 4 percent. Other main products of the manufacturing industry are machines, pulp and paper products, textiles, confectionery and other foodstuffs. Norway has some petroleum refineries and large iron and steel mills. The country has traditionally been a major shipbuilding nation, but shipbuilding has been in decline since the 1970s.
mineral oil and natural gas
The most important raw materials in Norway are oil and natural gas. In the 1960s, oil and gas fields were found on the North Sea continental plate. This led to great economic growth. Today Norway is one of the world's largest oil and gas exporters. In 2002 oil and gas exports accounted for 40% of all Norwegian exports of goods and services. In addition, the construction of the largest offshore facilities in the world created an important industry for offshore technology. In this area of the economy, Norway is very modern, as demonstrated by technologies such as horizontal drilling that Norwegian companies were the first to introduce.
Otherwise Norway has deposits of iron, copper, zinc and titanium ore. Coal mining is limited to the Svalbard archipelago (Spitzbergen). Today the country is the largest mining nation in Western Europe.
Due to the large proportion of mountainous land and barren soil, only 2.9 percent of the total area can be used as arable land. Grain is grown in Østlandet and Trøndelag. In the Vestlandet and Northern Norway, the agricultural sector focuses on livestock and dairy farming. The main crops are barley, oats, potatoes and wheat. The livestock consists mainly of sheep, cattle and pigs. With the exception of a few types of grain, fruits and vegetables that have to be imported, Norway can largely cover its own demand for agricultural products itself. Despite the ever decreasing importance of agriculture, it is supported by very high subsidies from the state.
Forestry is concentrated in Østlandet and Sørlandet, where 60 percent of the economically usable forest area is located. The majority of the forest area is privately owned. The state only has larger forest areas in the north of the country.
Fishing and whaling
Norway is one of the three largest countries in the world when it comes to exporting fish and seafood. Fish farming (especially salmon and trout) has been heavily subsidized by the state since the early 1970s. Norway is one of the largest fishing nations in the world. The fishing zone of the large fishing fleet was extended to the banks of Newfoundland. The main catch products are cod, stockfish, blue whiting, haddock, mackerel, herring and shrimp.
Commercial whaling resumed in 1993 after Norway lifted the whaling ban imposed in 1988 on the grounds that minke whales were not threatened with extinction. In 1992 95 whales were caught for so-called research purposes, in 1995 a total of more than 200 whales were killed. In June 1996 the International Whaling Commission (IWC) convicted Norway of disregarding the worldwide ban on commercial whaling; however, Norway set a catch quota of 671 minke whales for 1998.
The focus of foreign trade and trade relations changed significantly in the 1970s with the development of the oil and gas fields in the North Sea. Today Norway is the largest oil and gas exporter in Europe. These two goods account for 30 to 50% of the annual export goods. The main export goods also include machinery, aluminum, iron and steel, chemical products, pulp and paper products, and food (especially fish). Important imported goods are machinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, chemical products, office machines and ores. The main trading partners are Great Britain, Sweden, Germany, the USA, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Tourism has developed into an important economic factor over the past decades. The sights are Oslo, the fjord landscapes and the North Cape. A special attraction is the experience of the polar day in the areas beyond the Arctic Circle. In summer the sun does not set there for a certain period of time. The midnight sun shines on the North Cape from mid-May to the end of July.
back to Europe
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