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In a referendum, Norway voted against membership of the EU. However, because Norway is a member of the EEA, EU legislation on finance and commerce must also be implemented as domestic Norwegian law. Not only does this open up Norway for business from the EU; it opens up the EU for business from Norway.

Recently a German company refused to accept a bank guarantee from a Norwegian bank for deliveries from a Norwegian supplier. With the assistance of the Federation of Norwegian Banks, the bank took the matter up with the Norwegian Foreign Office. Through the embassy in Germany the matter was resolved and the result has been changes in rules and regulations in Germany, which now accept the application of EEA rules.

The Ministry of Industry and Energy is now working on a project to evaluate the public procurement rules applicable in Norway as a consequence of the EEA Agreement. This may lead to improved official guidelines on the purchase of financial services by public bodies which are open to competition from EEA suppliers.

Åsmund Simonsen

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