Head of Competition, Christine B. Meyer, wants to open up for more competition in the grocery industry, and is prepared to waive the import protection.
«Right now we are consciously closing the borders. I think it is so important with competition in the grocery market that we have to consider removing the import protection,» Meyer tells VG.
Grocery chain Coop is now considering buying ICA, another grocery store chain, which would leave Norway with only three large chains that dominate a market that, according to Meyer, is difficult to break into.
«There is not enough competition. Norway is soon the only country where there are no, or there is no threat of, foreign companies establishing themselves in the grocery market,» Meyer states.
She thinks that subsidies could replace the current import protection, which would ensure that Norwegian farmers are not affected by foreign companies establishing themselves in the market.
The Farmers’ Association, however, thinks that Meyer’s suggestion is a complete sidetrack.
«We already import 60 percent of the food we eat, and there are no reasons to take any action that increases this amount,» says secretary general of the Farmers’ Association Per Skorge.
He still thinks it positive that Meyer wishes to do something with the concentration of power that lies with a limited number of Norwegian grocery store chains.