Norwegian and German companies: Travel restrictions are taking a toll on international business

International tradePhoto: Tyler Casey / Unsplash
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While Europe is discussing the possibility of common travel guidelines for EU and EEA countries, Norway still has some of the strictest rules in Europe.

The different rules in the various countries and the extensive quarantine provisions create major challenges for international trade.

Professionals including technicians and salespeople are not allowed to travel to customers in other countries.

In the worst case, machines cannot be used or repaired, and it becomes more difficult to connect with new customers.

Travel restrictions have also had negative effects on the business sector in Norway.

In a survey conducted by the Norwegian-German Chamber of Commerce (AHK), more than 80% of the member companies that responded said that restrictions on business travel are a major obstacle to their business.

It is not just a question of labor moving across borders – personal meetings are still very important.

“Even with the restrictions that are currently in place, some business travel in bilateral trade still takes place.

However, we are monitoring further developments with concern: more and more trips connected to acquiring new customers or projects are being canceled or postponed.

Meetings are increasingly being held digitally, but large contracts require face-to-face meetings,” Michael Kern, director-general of the Norwegian-German Chamber of Commerce, warned, adding that business trips should be exempted from quarantine rules in some cases.

A desire for more stability

The continuous feedback from the member companies of the Chamber of Commerce confirms the results of the survey – the restrictions inhibit business development and investment decisions.

In Germany, several business organizations have also joined forces to ask politicians to carefully review the current provisions.

One of the things highlighted in the petition is that the rules for testing, quarantine, and travel restrictions should not be changed too often or too soon, as that creates instability and unnecessary difficulties for the business.

Too many comprehensive rules also create a disproportionately high workload for businesses, even those operating only domestically.

More consistent and stable rules would create greater support for the rules and make it easier for both businesses and individuals to follow them.

According to the petition, the business community itself has a strong interest in limiting the pandemic in order to avoid long-term constraints on the economic situation.

However, the business community believes that, in the future, it will be important to draw from the experience and knowledge of enterprises to create measures that are effective without having too much of an impact on the economy.

Source: © Norwegian-German Chamber of Commerce / #Norway Today

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