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Financial Services and Statistics

09/01/2012 // Financial services are covered by the EEA Agreement and Norway has implemented the relevant legislation of the EU in this field. Co-operation in the field of statistics is also covered by the EEA Agreement.

Financial services and capital movements
Financial services are covered by the EEA Agreement. Norway implements the relevant secondary legislation of the EU in this field, i.a. the directives and regulations relating to financial services. Financial services in this context refer primarily to banking services, insurance services and rules pertaining to securities markets. The EEA rules on financial services imply that a financial institution authorised in its home country (i.e. the country in which authorisation is granted) may establish itself through a branch or offer its services on a crossborder basis in the other EEA countries. The competent authorities of the home country shall be responsible for supervising financial institutions. This approach presupposes a certain level of harmonisation throughout the EEA and mutual recognition of the rules and control measures of the various countries. Information in English on the financial sector in Norway and on the payment system can be found on the websites of the Central Bank of Norway, the Ministry of Finance website, and the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet).

Capital movements across national borders have increased rapidly in recent years. The EEA Agreement provides similar rules on capital movements throughout the EEA. However, the amendments in the  Treaty concerning capital movements introduced in Maastricht are not incorporated in the EEA Agreement. Free movement of capital across national borders means in general that none of the countries may have national provisions restricting enterprises and individuals within the EEA from buying and selling shares and other securities, transferring or borrowing money, making bank deposits or buying insurance. The basic principle of the Agreement is that legislation may not discriminate between domestic and foreign investors.

Norwegian foreign exchange restrictions were, in principle, abolished as from 1 July 1990. Other restrictions were abolished when the EEA Agreement entered into force. These latter restrictions constituted restrictions on i.a. taking out a life insurance policy abroad and the required  use of a Norwegian stockbroker in foreign securities transactions. When the EEA Agreement concerning capital movements were drafted, one of the main subjects of negotiation concerned certain specific provisions in Norwegian legislation about consent to purchase real property. Reporting requirements on foreign exchange-transactions and cross border money transfers are in place to secure proper statistics and to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism. Transactions made through the banking system are reported by the banks, and not required from the customer.

More information on exchange rates can be found on the website of the Central Bank of Norway.

Statistics
Reliable statistics are preconditions to prepare  a well functioning economic policy. Co-operation in the field of statistics is covered by the EEA Agreement. The arrangement covers statistics on economics, foreign trade, business, demography, social matters, energy, agriculture, fisheries, transport and tourism, and requires adherence to statistical principles and confidentiality. Details on the co-operation can be found on EFTAs website.
Eurostat  is responsible for disseminating the statistics in the entire EEA. Norwegian participation in this co-operation is co-ordinated by Statistics Norway.

Contact person at the Mission of Norway is Counsellor for Finance, Lars-Erik Østby, e-mail: leos@mfa.no, +32 (0) 2 238 74 75.


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