Norwegian Weapon Industry Faces Dilemma of New EU Directive

According to Dagsavisen’s report, Norway will adopt a new EU directive on the purchase of defense and security equipment in the end of the year. The directive promises opportunities for the Norwegian defense industry.

– But we fear that some large countries do not follow the established rules of the game, while small countries will lose a lot, says State Secretary Roger Ingebrigtsen from the Defense Ministry.

Ingebrigtsen also stated that the Norwegian market is already quite open and this directive will bring even tougher competition at home as it will enable other EU countries weapon manufacturers to freely operate in the internal Market of Norway.

On the other hand, it will open other markets abroad for Norwegian weapon manufacturer. But they concern that some of the major economies continue to practically close their markets.

While Norway currently buys about 60 percent of its defense equipment from abroad, France buys its weapons almost exclusively from only its own defense industry.

– We have not received any signals from the major countries that they soon plan to change this kind of conservative behavior, said Ingebrigtsen.

Norway fourth largest exporter in 2008

According to the UN database for external trade (UN Comtrade), Norway was the fourth largest exporter of military equipment in 2008. This was the highest ranking the country has ever had. The Norwegian contribution in terms of export values that year accounted for 5.7 per cent of the world’s total export of weapons and arms. In 2009, the last available year in the UN database, Norway fell to sixth place, the same position as in 2007. The top three major weapons exporters have for many years been the USA, Canada and Italy. With exports amounting to USD 4.4 billion, the USA clearly stands out from the rest. This corresponds to around NOK 26 billion, which is close to 40 per cent of the total registered global weapons export in 2009.

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