Progress Party wants Norway to prioritize jobs over health when it comes to border trade with Sweden

Siv JensenPhoto: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB
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Closed borders with Sweden have given a boost to Norwegian stores. The Progress Party (FRP) calls for permanent tax cuts to secure retail jobs even after the corona crisis.

FRP’s Sivert Bjørnstad challenged Minister of Finance Jan Tore Sanner (H) on cross-border trade during the Norwegian parliament’s (Storting) question time on Wednesday. 

He asked Sanner to reduce taxes on typical cross-border merchandise in order to secure Norwegian companies and jobs in the merchandise trade along the border and prevent trade leakage to Sweden when the borders reopen.

Sanner replied that it is not only the tax on tobacco and alcohol that makes people shop in Sweden. 

He pointed to the Norwegian customs protection that provides more expensive Norwegian agricultural products, as well as Norway’s higher wages and cost levels in general.

“Taxes play a role”

“But taxes also play a role, and there is a balance between tax level and health effects. 

“Higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol also lead to lower consumption,” Sanner said.

Sivert Bjørnstad replied that in today’s extraordinary situation with high unemployment, job creation must weigh heavier than other considerations.

“Does the Minister disagree with that?” he asked.

“It weighs heavily, but when you set the tax level, there are also other considerations that come into play,” Sanner replied, adding that he reckoned that the topic would be important during the upcoming budget negotiations with the FRP.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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