Norwegians spend more in Swedish shops

Norwegians popping over the border to buy Swedish products last year spent an estimated nine million Norwegian kronor, or ten million Swedish kronor. Most of the money went on food and alcohol, and with the trade likely to increase this year Norwegian business organizations are getting anxious.

“We can handle some cross-border shopping, but nine million is too much,” said Jarle Hammerstad, of the Federation of Norwegian Commercial and Service Enterprises to Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.

Hammerstad blames high Norwegian taxes on beer and wine and the country’s agricultural policies for the problem.

“Norwegian taxes mean that beer and wine is 30-40 percent cheaper in Sweden. And with some types of meat the difference is even greater. Chicken and turkey can be 70 percent cheaper in Sweden. The reason for this is that farming in Norway are more protected and less efficient than that in Sweden,” he said.

Jan Tore Sanner, deputy leader of Norway’s opposition Conservative Party, has demanded that his country slash tax on beer and wine. He said he believes that the price differences between the two countries will become greater following the change of government in Stockholm.

The Social Democrat chairman of the Norwegian parliament’s finance committee, Karl Eirik Schjött-Pedersen, said that cross-border shopping presented a “challenge” but insisted that changes to the Norwegian position were not imminent.