According to the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service and the U.S. State Dept., total foreign investment in Norway is expected to climb from $43.8 billion in 2003 to $45.3 billion in 2005 (with U.S. investment alone projected to rise to more than $7.7 billion). For a country of 4.5 million people with a 2004 labor force of approximately 2.4 million, that's nearly $19,000 of FDI per worker, in a nation where the GDP per capita is over $50,000 and rising.
Of course, a full 59 percent of the value of Norwegian exports in 2004 is coming from the oil and gas sector. But the country's maritime cluster continues to develop, as do others. An August 2004 report from Statistics Norway showed manufacturing improving its turnover for the fourth month in a row, having grown its output by nearly four percent year-to-date over 2003. That push was led by intermediate goods like refined petroleum products, chemicals and chemical products.
One of the more insightful 2004 documents about the European Union's business climate comes from a May survey of 200 companies, predominantly manufacturers, among eight European business federations active in the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe including the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry.
While focused on improvements to the EU internal market regulatory environment, the report also addresses national-level issues. One graph depicts the number of cases per country where national requirements over and above EU regulations led to product changes, extra testing or other administrative burdens. Norway, Sweden and Finland showed the fewest obstacles of all European countries examined, save Portugal.
But the country is a good place to just live, too, having topped the United Nations' standard-of-living rankings for the fourth year in a row in 2004, with an annual income per capita of $36,600, second only to Luxembourg's. Second place overall went to Sweden.
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