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Tackling the issue of growth and export

  • Publisert 10.04.2014
Building on new data and analyses of Nordic export performance, Nordic added value was one of the talking points at a recent conference in Copenhagen on challenges for Nordic growth and export.

THE PANEL. From the left: Jens Kvorning (Danish Federation for SMEs), Fabienne Fortanier (OECD), Peter Bøegh Nielsen (Statistics Denmark), Annette Ø. Jørgensen (Danish Business Authority) and Hans Uldall-Poulsen (Dalberg Research). Photo: Nordic Innovation



– We’re here today to discuss an important issue, said secretary general of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Dagfinn Høybråten, in his opening speech to the about 60 officials who had found their way past the polar bear at the North Atlantic House in a sunbathed Copenhagen to attend the conference “Nordic Growth Through Export” 3 April.


– Economic growth is key not only to secure jobs, but also to secure a wider range of welfare services to the Nordic region and the people living here. In fact, sustainable economic growth and the Nordic welfare model goes hand in hand, Høybråten continued.



See photos from the conference at the bottom of the story.

Three challenges

The future economic growth of the Nordic countries is predicted to be slower than the rest of the world. At the same time, foreign markets are still feeling the effects of the recent economic crisis, and these factors pose challenges for economic growth and export for the Nordic countries.

To answer some of them, the conference was structured around three challenges for the Nordic region regarding economic growth and export:


  • How do we ensure job creation and export of products with high added value?
  • How to increase innovation, investment and internationalisation of SMEs?
  • How do we increase exports to the BRIC countries?

Speakers from Statistics Denmark, OECD, the European Commission and Dalberg Research gave insights into various aspects of the challenges before there was a panel discussion with Q’s and A’s.



Nordic added value – stronger together

A consistent phrase in Nordic cooperation is how to create Nordic added value, and both speakers and the debate touched upon several concrete example of this as a solution to the challenges.


Nordic cooperation outside the region often makes sense simply due to economies of scale, as cost can be reduced by doing things together, pooling resources and ensuring a critical mass in a given market. This is not least true in markets with high entrance costs.


In addition, “Norden” is a strong brand internationally, particularly within sustainability and welfare services.


Finally, due to economies of scope by offering broader product portfolios, Nordic joint trade missions can open new markets. Ideally, Nordic companies could get together and offer joint system solutions, which are not provided by the Nordic countries individually, and hence compete in new markets. 


The apparent ability of Nordic SMEs to bounce back from the financial crisis compared to large companies was also one of the interesting talking points.


– SMEs are out there on the export market and on the BRIC and emerging markets as well. There is evidence that SEMs gained their losses very well, said Peter Bøegh Nielsen from Statistics Denmark.



Brand new performance data

The new report “Nordic Export of Goods and Exporting Enterprises” served as backdrop for the conference hosted by the Nordic Council of Ministers and Nordic Innovation. The report is written in cooperation by the five Nordic statistical bureaus and commissioned by the Nordic Ministers of Business, and provides brand new statistics and analyses of the export performance of the Nordic countries. Both new statistics and methodologies was developed to make the report, which may be considered a front-runner work also internationally.


The conference certainly elaborated and added to the new findings of the report, and provided new insights in how to ensure economic growth in the Nordic region. This may be an important foundation for increasing Nordic economic growth through export. Because as Dagfinn Høybråten pointed out:


– Good data is the core of good policy making in every sector.

Gallery. [Total 11 bilder]