Norway and Russia reaches new low in economic cooperation
It is Norway which appears to lose most from the sanction regimes between the countries.
Figures from the Norwegian-Russian Chamber of Commerce show that total bilateral trade in first half 2015 dropped 28 percent year-on-year to a total of €672 million.
It is the Norwegian exports which is suffering the most. According to the NRCC, Norway in the period sold goods to Russia worth only €311 million, a 78 percent decline compared with the same period 2014.
Meanwhile, Russian trade to Norway in the period increased with 10 percent to a total of €586 million, a press release from the Chamber reads.
Effect of Russian embargo
Clearly, the comprehensive sanction regimes introduced by both countries in mid-2014 are to blame for the lower trade. Especially the Russian embargo on Western foodstuff, including Norwegian seafood, has hit trade relations. Russia had become the biggest export market for Norwegian fish products and that market collapsed overnight on 6 August 2014.
In a comment, NRCC leader Jarle Forbord says that he “calls on all relevant parts to seek a prompt solution to the conflict, so that the mutual restrictive measures can be abolished and free trade again unfold in bilateral relations.”
The loss of the Russian market has however not inflicted any serious damage on the Norwegian fish exporters. In the first half of 2015, the seafood exports hit a new record.
The total value of seafood exported in January-June totaled NOK 34 billion, a five percent increase from the same period 2014. In June, sales peaked with NOK 5.8 billion (€644 million), up 20 percent compared to the same month in 2014.
Related stories from around the North:
Denmark: Nordics to step up security cooperation on perceived Russian threat, Yle News
Finland: Finnish politician involved in EU nuclear safety grants for Arctic Russia, blacklisted by Moscow, Barents Observer
Norway: Statoil and Rosneft prepare for drilling despite sanctions, Barents Observer
Russia: Seismic work continues in Russian Arctic despite sanctions, Barents Observer
Sweden: Sweden awaits Russian blacklist explanation, Radio Sweden
United States: U.S. Arctic rep: Russia’s Arctic buildup not necessarily martial, Alaska Public Radio Network