Utah and Norway: A Strong Bond

Pete CodellaArticles

The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development and World Trade Center Utah welcomed two important dignitaries from Norway last month. The Honorable Jo Sletbak, Consul General from the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in San Francisco and the Honorable Lars Johansen, Honorary Consul for Norway in Utah were the guests of honor at a roundtable discussion with Utah government and business leaders.

The participants discussed current economic, educational and political topics such as Norway’s energy policies, current patent laws, the fiscal responsibility of the government, the country as a gateway to the European Union, and the impact of Brexit in terms of U.S./Utah – Europe trade.

Some interesting facts about Norway include:

  • The country is leading the way in Europe in renewable energy through the use of hydropower.
  • There are more charging stations for electric cars than there are gas stations.
  • Norway is a debt-free country.
  • With a population of 5.3 million, healthcare is provided by the government along with education and childcare.
  • Many families include two working adults who contribute to the country’s economic development and gross domestic product.
  • Norway is the world’s second largest seafood exporter and the leading producer of cod, bringing in more than two billion dollars annually.

During his comments, Consul General Sletbak expressed his admiration for Utah’s economic accomplishments and how Utah has led the way in the U.S. when it comes to internationalizing its economy. He mentioned the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce, an organization that helps U.S. companies do business with Norway.

Mr. Sletbak plans to return to Utah in the next few months to continue to foster opportunities for collaboration.

“We have been building bridges with Norway for many years,” says Franz Kolb, GOED’s Director of International Trade and Diplomacy. The Olympics in Lillehammer and Salt Lake City cemented our relationship. Utah’s exports to Norway have increased over the last 10 years.”

For more information, contact Franz Kolb, director of international trade and diplomacy in the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development at fkolb@utah.gov. For more information on Norway, contact The Honorable Lars Johanson, Honorary Consul for Norway in Utah at (801) 649-7680.