U.S. - Norway Bilateral Issues
Norway and the United States work closely together on a wide range of issues that are of importance to our nations and to the rest of the world. Among the many bilateral issues on which we cooperate and collaborate are: building democracy in Afghanistan and globally; the Arctic and Polar areas; renewable energy sources and preserving the environment, fighting terrorism, promoting human rights and combating racism, strengthening the NATO alliance; ensuring nuclear security; energy; health; global development; and global peace initiatives.
voters chose a new government that took office in October 2013, and
cooperation between our countries continued seamlessly. High-level
bilateral meetings, including Foreign Minister Børge Brende meeting
Secretary Kerry in November 2013, ensure the United States and Norway
effectively promote our common interests. These visits underscore the
close ties between the United States and Norway, which are grounded in
our common heritage, values, ideals and interests. Norway and the United
States continue to cooperate closely in the following areas:
Defense and Security Cooperation: As NATO allies, the United States and Norway are committed to each other’s defense and partner in critical crisis areas around the world.
- Syria: The United States and Norway, along with Denmark and other states, are working together to transport chemical weapon agents out of Syria and safely destroy them. This mission, which we are carrying out under the auspices of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, is one of the most significant advances yet in ridding the world of the horror of chemical weapons.
- Afghanistan: Norway is a key contributor to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), providing mentors for Afghan National Security Forces. Norway is committed to a better future for the Afghanistan people, and is providing approximately $120 million annually in development assistance and joining the international community in encouraging Afghan governance reform efforts.
- Bilateral Defense Cooperation: The U.S. and Norwegian militaries enjoy a high level of cooperation and interoperability. Approximately 500 Norwegian military personnel, including pilots, train in the United States annually and about 175 active military sales cases are in process. Norway has selected the Joint Strike Fighter F-35 as its next generation supersonic fighter aircraft, and will be taking delivery of four JSF F-35 training aircraft in 2016.
- Nuclear Security: Norway strongly supports the President’s vision of a world without nuclear weapons. Norway has demonstrated its commitment to nonproliferation and nuclear safety issues by taking a position on the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency during 2013-2014. Norway also participates in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.
Diplomatic Cooperation and Global Development: The United States and Norway cooperate closely on some of the world’s most intractable challenges. We share a commitment to democracy and development cooperation, as highlighted by Norway’s generous $5.1 billion foreign aid budget in 2013, which constitutes more than 1% of the country’s GDP. The United States and Norway are two of the eight founding members of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multilateral effort that supports national efforts to promote transparency, fight corruption, strengthen accountability, and empower citizens.
- Middle East: Norway chairs the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) to coordinate donor support to the Palestinian Authority and contributed $105 million to the Palestinian Authority in 2013, including $55 million in support of Palestinian economic development.
- Syrian Humanitarian Aid: The United States and Norway continue to provide significant aid to address the conflict in Syria. Since 2011, Norway has provided over $213 million to address the conflict. As of January 2014, the U.S. government has provided over $1.7 billion in humanitarian assistance.
- Human Rights: The United States and Norway continue to collaborate to promote respect for human rights in a number of multinational fora, including the UN Human Rights Council. Both the United States and Norway have made statements condemning violence against women, calling for freedom of expression and denouncing the humanitarian situation in Syria.
- Global Health: The United States and Norway collaborate closely on women’s and children’s health globally by promoting greater transparency in lifesaving global health efforts and the use of new technologies to improve impact, gender equity, accountability and governance. Our mutual commitment to global health is reflected in support of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI). Together we pledged over 25% of the total $4.3 billion at a June 2011 pledging conference to vaccinate 250 million children by 2015. This raises Norway’s direct total GAVI contributions to $1.2 billion.
Economic, Energy, and Environmental Cooperation: The United States and Norway have a dynamic economic partnership that is creating jobs, driving the development of safe and secure energy sources, and fostering a healthy environment.
- Trade, Investment and Jobs: Bilateral trade in goods and services exceeded $15 billion in 2010 and Norway’s foreign direct investment in the United States totaled $10.4 billion. Texas and Louisiana alone are home to 150 Norwegian companies, while U.S. exports to Norway support roughly 20,000 U.S. jobs. By the end of 2013, $250 billion, or 30%, of Norway’s $830 billion Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) was invested in the United States.
- Energy: As the world’s second largest exporter of natural gas and seventh largest exporter of oil, Norway plays an important stabilizing role in energy markets and energy security. Norway is the only developed country to have completed implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and achieved “compliant” status under the EITI process. In September, the United States committed to implement the EITI as part of its OGP National Action Plan. The United States and Norway are also committed to increasing access to modern energy services for the 1.4 billion people on the planet today who do not have any access to energy.
- Environment, Climate Change and Green Growth: The United States and Norway share a commitment to combatting climate change, including a focus on clean energy technology, expanding access to renewable energy forest protection, and increasing agricultural productivity. This includes $1 billion that the United States and Norway have each pledged to boost REDD+ activities in the short-term. The United States and Norway have led the development of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which supports actions aimed at addressing the public health, food and energy security and climate consequences of short-lived climate pollutants.
- The Arctic: The new U.S. National Strategy for the Arctic Region prioritizes strong international cooperation through the Arctic Council. As the host of the Permanent Secretariat of the Arctic Council, Norway is a strong partner for economic, energy, and environmental cooperation in the Arctic. The United States and Norway together played a leadership role in in the development of an international instrument on Arctic marine oil pollution preparedness and response and are now facilitating formal discussions on how to prevent marine pollution in the Arctic.
Cultural Ties: Nearly five million Americans claim Norwegian ancestry, almost equal to Norway’s own population. Our cultural relations are rich and dynamic, and both countries are working to encourage greater educational exchange opportunities.
- Travel to the United States: Over 296,000 residents of Norway traveled to the United States during FY-2012, a 7% increase over 2011.
Educational and Scientific Exchange: More than 2,500 Norwegian students studied in the United States during the last academic year, ranking the United States as the third most popular destination for Norwegian students studying abroad. The U.S.-Norway Fulbright program exchanges over 100 students and scholars annually, including the prestigious Fulbright Arctic Chairs Program supported by a $1 million contribution from the Norwegian government.