The Nordics

The Business Travel Magazine - - Departures -

The Nordic economies are among the strong­est in the Western world, en­joy­ing in­creased GDP and ex­port vol­umes. ben­jamin coren is your guide to trav­el­ling to and do­ing busi­ness in the na­tions of Den­mark, Swe­den, Nor­way, Fin­land and Ice­land The Nordic na­tions are fa­mous for their high stan­dards of liv­ing and eco­nomic free­doms. In fact, the five coun­tries all se­cured a place among the top 10 na­tions in the re­cent World Hap­pi­ness Re­port.

Com­pris­ing Den­mark, Swe­den, Nor­way, Fin­land and Ice­land, each of the na­tions has a mul­ti­tude of busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for Uk-based en­ter­prises and al­ready-strong eco­nomic ties could re­ceive a postBrexit boost in the years ahead.

The re­gion has a com­bined pop­u­la­tion of just half that of the UK, but the coun­tries are nev­er­the­less im­por­tant busi­ness part­ners. English is widely spo­ken and is of­ten the pre­ferred lan­guage in which busi­ness is con­ducted, while in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions, eco­nomic com­pet­i­tive­ness, equal­ity and wel­fare poli­cies keep the Nordics one step ahead of many com­pet­ing neigh­bours.

Den­mark is re­cep­tive to UK prod­ucts and in­vest­ments and is ranked third in the world in the World Bank’s Ease of Do­ing Busi­ness re­port. As a mem­ber of the EU there are no sig­nif­i­cant trade bar­ri­ers, how­ever keep an eye on Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions to see if this could af­fect fu­ture trade. There are plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties within en­gi­neer­ing and trans­porta­tion, in­clud­ing one of the largest rail ren­o­va­tion projects in Europe, run­ning un­til 2025.

The UK is one of Nor­way’s most im­por­tant trad­ing part­ners and is the UK’S most sig­nif­i­cant sup­plier of oil and gas, with bi­lat­eral trade re­ported to be worth £18.57bil­lion in 2015. As one of the world’s wealth­i­est na­tions per capita, Nor­way re­mained strong through the eco­nomic cri­sis.

Op­por­tu­ni­ties within Nor­way for UK busi­ness abound in en­ergy, re­new­ables and low-car­bon econ­omy – the Nor­we­gian gov­ern­ment runs the Enova ini­tia­tive, encouraging ef­fi­ciency mea­sures and low car­bon en­ergy.

Bri­tish com­pa­nies such as BP, Bri­tish Air­ways, BAE Sys­tems and Glax­osmithk­line are op­er­at­ing in Swe­den and do­ing busi­ness is very

sim­i­lar to the UK. It is im­por­tant to note the in­tri­ca­cies of Swedish labour laws and that re­la­tion­ships be­tween em­ploy­ers and unions are strong. Or­gan­i­sa­tions post­ing work­ers to Swe­den need to reg­is­ter at the Swedish Work En­vi­ron­ment Au­thor­ity.

The coun­try is the UK’S big­gest ex­port mar­ket in the Nordics and op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­ist in elec­tri­cal and com­mu­ni­ca­tions prod­ucts, ma­chin­ery and man­u­fac­tured goods.

Ad­di­tion­ally, there is in­creas­ing de­mand for re­new­able en­ergy – the Swedish gov­ern­ment has a tar­get of zero re­liance on fos­sil fu­els by 2030, which has seen rapid ex­pan­sion in the so­lar, wa­ter, bio­fuel and wind power in­dus­tries.

Fin­land has a highly in­dus­tri­alised, largely free mar­ket econ­omy with one of the high­est per capita GDPS in Europe, with around 50% of its GDP com­ing from ex­ports.

The coun­try is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a de­mand for busi­ness ser­vices due to pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor out­sourc­ing, pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties across the en­tire value chain for UK com­pa­nies in­clud­ing in the ar­eas of con­sul­tancy, ad­vi­sory ser­vices, en­gi­neer­ing and de­sign. Fin­land is also strate­gi­cally lo­cated at the cen­tre of a de­vel­op­ing mar­ket­place of 80 mil­lion con­sumers in north-western Rus­sia, Scan­di­navia and the Baltic States.

Ice­land has the small­est pop­u­la­tion of the Nordic na­tions, with the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple re­sid­ing in the cap­i­tal, Reyk­javik.

The UK is its clos­est neigh­bour­ing coun­try and it has a long trad­ing re­la­tion­ship with Bri­tish busi­nesses, no­tably in the food, drink and con­sumer goods sec­tors.

Now, how­ever, the coun­try has a num­ber of ma­jor projects un­der­way, pre­sent­ing busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in­clud­ing a £500mil­lion air­port high­speed rail con­nec­tion, a £5bil­lion en­ergy trans­mis­sion sys­tem and a £4bil­lion power gen­er­a­tion project.

lo­ganair: Flies to Ber­gen from Manch­ester three times per week, plus In­ver­ness (three times per week), Shet­land (2), Glas­gow (2) and Orkney (1).

nor­we­gian: Flies from Manch­ester to Stock­holm Ar­landa twice per week, to Oslo three times and to Sta­vanger twice. From Ed­in­burgh it flies to Oslo seven times per week, Copen­hagen (6) and Stock­holm (3). From Lon­don Gatwick it has ser­vices to Copen­hagen and Stock­holm (both 31 times per week), plus Oslo (25), Ber­gen (13), Helsinki (13), Gothen­burg (11), Sta­vanger (8), Trond­heim (4) and Aal­borg in Den­mark (3).

ryanair: Flies to Copen­hagen from Lon­don Stansted daily, Lu­ton (daily) and Ed­in­burgh four times per week. The car­rier also flies from Stansted to Aarhus (five times per wek), Aal­borg (4) and Bil­lund (13). It flies from Stansted to Stock­holm-skavsta 16 times per week, Stock­holmVästerås (4) and Gothen­burg Land­vet­ter (9). Ryanair op­er­ates to Oslo three times daily and Oslo San­de­fjord Torp from three times per week, from Stansted.

sas: The air­line op­er­ates from Manch­ester to Ber­gen twice per week, and from Aberdeen (12) and Heathrow (11) to Sta­vanger. It flies from Heathrow to Oslo 32 times a week, and also has ser­vices from Manch­ester (9), Aberdeen (6) and Ed­in­burgh (2). There are 40 flights a week from Heathrow to Stock­holm, plus ser­vices from Manch­ester

ber­gen's lud­vig hol­berg

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