Norway is a net importer of agricultural products, but a net exporter of fishery products. In 1995, Norway exported agricultural products valued at $850 million, but exported more than $3 billion of fishery products. Norway provides a variety of infrastructural support tools to its fishery producers, including transportation support within Norway, assistance to modernize fisheries, and support to purchase fishing vessels. Export market promotion for fish and seafood is carried out by the Norwegian Seafood Export Council, a semi-private producer board, which is funded by levies on exports of fishery products. Export promotion expenditures are estimated at $20.5 million for 1995.
The Ministry of Fisheries established the Norwegian Seafood Export Council in 1991. The Council's board consists of seven representatives of exporting firms, producers, fish farmers, and the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries. The main objective of the Council is generic promotion in domestic and export markets (mainly export markets). Norway also has the authority to approve Norwegian exporters and see that they follow the rules and regulations. While focussing on generic promotion, the Council's activities tie with brand promotions conducted by private firms.
Funding for the Norwegian Seafood Export Council comes from export registration fees and levies on exporters by the Norwegian Customs Authority. In 1995, export registration fees were $2,362 per exporter. Assessments on exports were: 0.3 percent of the f.o.b. value of exported fish and fish products with exceptions for farmed salmon and trout (0.75 percent of the f.o.b. value), prepared and preserved fish exported under tariff number 16.04 (0.2 percent of the f.o.b value), and prepared and preserved crustaceans (0.2 percent of the f.o.b. value). This gave the Council a budget of $20.5 million in 1995, of which 85 percent was for promotional activities and 15 percent for overhead. The budget for the Council is expected to rise next year because the Ministry of Fisheries proposes to raise the export fee for farmed salmon and trout to 1.5 percent to compensate and strengthen the marketing effort in EU countries.
In 1995, the Norwegian Seafood Export Council established a "Norwegian Seafood Team" in the United States consisting of the 11 best Norwegian and American chefs. They educated them and used them as instructors and speakers in seminars all over U.S. under the title "The Art of Seafood Workshop." Some of these events were coordinated with American Culinary Federation (ACF). They also participated at the Boston Seafood Show in March and the International Fancy Food & Confection Show in New York. FAS' attache in Japan reported in JA6506 Norway has maintained a promotion budget of $3.5 million annually to promote salmon in Japan.
Norway also exports a large volume of cheese and lesser amounts of other products at relatively low prices. Norway's expenditures for direct export subsidies on sales of cheese, meats, butter and other agricultural products were estimated at $83 million in 1995 based on information reported by the National Association of Norwegian Milk Producers, the Norwegian Agricultural Marketing Board and the Norwegian Grain Corporation.