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Informal Commercial Exchange, Trade Talks with Norway

June 9, 2011

Juan Verde is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe in the International Trade Administration’s Market Access and Compliance Unit. In this capacity, he leads the Department of Commerce’s efforts to help solve trade policy and market access issues facing U.S. firms seeking to grow their business operations in Europe and Eurasia.

Today I had the pleasure of welcoming Norwegian State Secretary for Trade and Industry Rikke Lind along with her esteemed delegation for the U.S. –Norway Informal Commercial Exchange (ICE) talks. These talks highlight our commitment to dialogue on issues that could benefit our industries’ participation in each others’ market –and spur innovation.

The agenda items ranged from increasing market access for certain environmentally friendly U.S. vehicles to increased protection for intellectual property rights for pharmaceuticals and digital content. We also discussed U.S. anti-dumping/countervailing duty measures on Norwegian salmon, science exchanges, Norway’s search and rescue helicopter procurement, and bottling taxes. I believe the Norwegian Government received informative briefings from various U.S. agencies on legislative and regulatory issues of concern, particularly in the area of trade security and shipping.

Several follow-up meetings will be held as part of our ongoing dialogue and work plan. I very much value Norway as a trading partner and I am grateful for the commitment of the State Secretary to working through and clarifying trade barriers.

Our merchandise exports to Norway increased by 11 percent in 2010, from 2009. Imports from Norway increased 22 percent in 2010 from 2009. U.S.-Norway trade in services has grown rapidly. U.S. exports of services to Norway rose from $1.4 billion in 2003 to $2.8 billion in 2009. U.S. imports of services from Norway rose from $1.4 billion in 2003 to $1.5 billion in 2009. I am confident those numbers will continue to rise and that our routine dialogue on trade issues plays a constructive role.

The ICE talks aim to reduce barriers to trade and increase market access.  The issues were brought to us by members of industry interested in achieving greater market access.  MAC has many bilateral dialogues to raise various trade issues in support of U.S. exports.  If you are encountering a trade barrier contact us at our Trade Compliance Center