GROCERIES and organic fruits and vegetables have high export potentials for Philippine enterprises keen to export to Norway under the Philippines-European Free Trade Association Free Trade Agreement (PH-EFTA FTA), a Norwegian official said.
Bjorn Jahnsen, Norway’s ambassador to the Philippines, said in a presentation in Makati City on exporting to EFTA countries, there is much room for growth for Philippine exports to Norway.
He noted that the country’s exports to Norway in 2017 amounted to just US$43 million (P2.3 billion), while the EFTA nation’s total global imports for the same year had a value of $80.5 billion (almost P490 billion).
In 2017, the top five Norwegian merchandise imports from the Philippines included electrical machinery and other electronics; clothing and accessories; office and IT equipment; travel accessories, handbags and garments; and vegetables and fruits.
Jahnsen said export potential for the Philippines is huge for these seven products: groceries, fruits and vegetables (including organic produce), flowers, clothing and footwear, furniture, chemical products, and ceramics and handicrafts.
Norway’s grocery imports in 2015 totaled $19 billion. NorgesGruppen, a Norwegian grocery wholesaling group which also runs various retail outlets, dominated the industry with a 42.3 percent share of the total import value for the year. This was followed by Coop NKL (29.4 percent), the second largest retail group in the country, and owned by numerous local cooperative associations; then Rema 1000 (24.4 percent), a multinational no-frills supermarket chain; and retail chain Bunnpris (3.9 percent).
Norways’ fruit and vegetable imports reached $1 billion in 2016. The country’s main importers, said Jahnsen, are fruit and vegetable trading and distribution companies Interfrukt and Bama.
Organic food imports have been on the rise. The organic food sector in Norway had a market value of $300 million in 2016, up 25 percent from 2015. It had a 1.8 percent market share in 2016, but has ambitions to reach a 15 percent market share by 2020.
For successful transactions with Norwegian importers, Jahnsen said suppliers must be made aware of their main requirements, which are quality, health and safety, traceability, and reliability in terms of contracts and deadlines.
It is also important for Norwegian companies that their trade partners observe responsible business conduct as espoused in international standards such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development guidelines for multinational companies, the United Nations (UN) guiding principles on business and human rights, and the UN Global Compact. (PHILEXPORT NEWS AND FEATURES)