Cheesed off: Norwegian trade war looms

Norway places massive taxes on Danish cheese while also snapping up cheap Danish summerhouses

The special Scandinavian bond between Denmark and Norway may be under threat after a decision by the Norwegian government to place heavy protectionist taxes on certain foreign imports.

Foreign cheese similar to traditional soft yellow Norwegian cheese will face a 277 percent tax, while firmer varieties, such as parmesan, will be exempt.

Foreign beef will also face a 344 percent tax and lamb a staggering 429 percent tax.

The measures are designed to protect Norway’s food producers, but will in the process put a serious dent in Denmark's cheese trade with Norway which is valued at about 200 million kroner a year.

Denmark is not without its own protectionism, however, especially given the ban on foreigners purchasing their highly coveted summer houses.

But the Danes seem to have been outwitted on this front too. Norwegians are able to exploit a loophole that allows foreigners with “particularly strong connections to Denmark” to buy summer houses.

In the past decade, 283 Norwegians have been granted permission to buy homes, though almost 100,000 could qualify according to Ritzau.