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Challenging the ‘I’ in team – the recipe for a perfect team starts with you


For most of my working life I been part of a team. Some teams have been small and some have been big. I have been the team rookie, I have been the team fossil, and I have lead some of them myself. I have been extremely fortunate; all the teams have been truly awesome and have given me the opportunity to work with a lot of talented and passionate people. A common thread in these successful teams has been my willingness and openness to engaging with the team by being guided by strategies to get there from management and the broader company.


A direct correlation has been shown between the quality of the relationships in a team and the quality of the work the team produce. Team-building takes many forms and doing activities together is fun, great for team spirit and more importantly brings us together face to face (or side by side). All organisations want people and teams that consistently deliver high quality output. Unfortunately, we can’t go offsite, climb mountains, drive go-carts and do cooking classes every week. So, how do we nurture and fuel the team spirit and maintain relationships in a team between the annual team-building day; and why is it so important?


There are a whole range of reasons, some more obvious than others. Some of the most attractive organisations to work for globally have done extensive research around creating the perfect team. Over a two-year period, Google interviewed 180 teams and hundreds of employees searching for the recipe. What they found wasn’t what they expected. Who is on the team matters less than how the team members interact. High performing teams almost always displayed these 5 characteristics; “Psychological Safety” being the most important.


So if that’s the case, what is the best way and what is the benefit of creating an environment where people feel psychologically safe? Let’s look at a few favourites.


#Social Interaction.

Our social relationships have been shown to be the key to happiness in our personal lives. What might come as a surprise is that it also seems to be of great importance in the workspace. Not only does Google know how to create the perfect team, according to LinkedIn, employees who are hired to work for the most attractive company globally enjoy working there so much that they never want to leave. Google understand the value of people meeting face to face. Giving employees access to large areas with lounges and ping pong tables is about creating a space for people to meet, discuss, exchange ideas and have great conversations that might lead to new innovations and ‘the next big thing’. By increasing human interaction just a little, performance can increase a lot.



One of the key factors in great relationships is trust. In order to build trust we need to get to know each other. As with social interaction, this doesn't just apply in our personal life, it is also the case in our professional lives.

When people know and trust each other they also become more tolerant and supportive. They are more understanding and willing to get the job done. “Having teams that are open, trusting, and supportive of each other is a critical driver of an innovation culture”, writes Amantha Imber in her book The Innovation Formula. With the constant changes in the digital space, innovation is not only a buzz word, it’s necessary, in some places more than others. A company whose culture values teamwork alongside with risk and distributed leadership seems to inherently be more adaptable to these changes. Maybe it’s because they feel trusted to take risk and get the job done.


“Having teams that are open, trusting, and supportive of each other is a critical driver of an innovation culture”



Letting employees have a say and allowing them to make decisions is shown to increase productivity and work place satisfaction. More importantly, getting people on the ground doing the job and making suggestions about how to work smarter, increases productivity and cut costs; this in turn can make a big difference to the bottom line. Mining Company BHP Billiton did just that. They invited employees to put forward suggestions. A quarter of close to nine thousand employees made 4700 suggestions and the company believe it contributed to a total savings of close to 4 Billion dollars as a result. So not only is it good for the bottom line, employees end up feeling more involved and engaged at work which is positive in itself.




A little bit of love in the work place will also go a long way. Love doesn’t have to be a policy, but it can. Putting the interest of another person before yourself. Love can and should be a guiding star and philosophy in how we treat each other both in and outside of work. Love is about being comfortable with conflict and difficult conversations. In my opinion, what is even more important is the presence of love in everyday work life. A simple smile and giving someone the compliment they deserve can be enough.

I have experienced this myself. About ten years ago I was part of an amazing team in Norway. At our monthly sales meetings we would all give a short update about what we had achieved since we last met. Afterwards we would all put a Post-it with our name in a bowl and randomly pull out a note each. We then had to give feedback to another member of the team based on their update to the team, which had to positive.

The session was inspired by a segment from a reality show. The show called it “Black camel, White camel” where the contestants gave out one black camel for poor behaviour and a white camel for good behaviour to other contestants.

We renamed it “White camel, White camel” as it was all about creating a positive team environment. It sounds silly thinking about it but after this simple exercise where we put effort and into focusing on positive things we were all left feeling good, I know I did.


We tend to spend a lot of energy on things we can’t change. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good rant and believe there needs to be a space where one can voice opinions, maybe give out a few black camels too. We shouldn’t ignore the ‘black camels” and there are ways of addressing negative thoughts and obstacles for success. By turning negative feedback and statements into questions we open for exploration and possibilities. The truth is that it feels much more rewarding giving out white camels and focus on positive qualities and behaviours and we should strive to turn the black ones into possibilities rather than barriers.


“The quality of the relationships in a team has been shown to directly correlate with the quality of the work the team produce”


There are many other factors that can play a role in how a team performs. Let’s revisit and look at factors like team size, gender mix and the manager and the role they play at a later stage. Elements like engagement, social relationships and trust, psychological safety and love are all things that we all can influence and practice to increase performance of self, colleagues and team.


Smile, give compliments, grab a coffee or go for a walk with a colleague. Schedule a lunch or after work drinks with people in your team this week. Ask each other questions and talk about things outside of work too. Don’t know what to talk about? Use tools like FuelBox with a 170 questions to get the conversation started and remember that great conversations are made up of both talking and listening. This won’t make the perfect team straight away but it’s a good start and best of all, you can do this today.


The original post can be found here. To read more about what FuelBox can do for your relationships, at work and at home, visit here.


#team building #social interaction #professional development #relationships #fueltheworld

#conversations #fuelbox #fuelbox australia, #joergen broers, #jørgen brørs,

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Interview with Lene Skaug, Teacher and Translator

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Today, we get to know the Chambers Norwegian and English teacher Lene Skaug, who runs her own teaching and translating business from Sydney, Australia. Learning a language is a great way to stretch your brain, and Lene teaches both face-to-face and online, so if you or your staff want to pick up some Norwegian phrases or widen your vocabulary, you should get in touch with Lene here.


  1. What kind of clients are you looking for?


I’m looking for all people / businesses interested in learning Norwegian and learning more about Norway and the Norwegian culture. I offer private Norwegian tuition in my home office in Manly or lessons via Skype.
I am also happy to create Special Intensive Courses for businesses around Australia interested in their employees learning some typical Norwegian greetings, expressions and/or work-related vocabulary.


  1. What’s happening in your industry right now?


The interest in learning Norwegian has been steady for the last 10-15 years, but the big change is the new possibilities via Skype and all the online resources and communication tools available for learning languages. Now it is much easier for example to get a private tutor that suits your schedule because of skype, and the increase in tourism and cheaper flights also mean that more people are travelling to Norway more often, e.g. Australian grand parents with grandchildren in Norway, or students and partners with friends and families in both countries.


  1. What is your passion? Or what drives you to get up in the morning?


I am passionate about learning and self-development, and being part of other people’s journey, other people wanting to learn and to grow. My purpose is to enhance a person’s learning and learning experience. Open up new possibilities in meeting with others and other cultures.


  1. What is a great learning experience you’ve made in the workplace?

I have learned a lot from the environment and surroundings; the atmosphere is so important for all kinds of work I would argue, and especially learning and teaching.  I’m teaching English to immigrants and international students in Sydney, and Norwegian to Australian people in Sydney, and there is a big difference in learning English as a second language (learners live in the country of the language being taught) and Norwegian as a foreign language (you don’t live in the country of the language being taught). I find that most Norwegians really appreciate people who makes that great effort which it is to learn Norwegian, but I think we all forget at times how much time and effort it takes, because Norwegian people learn and hear English around them all the time, which of course is not the case of learning Norwegian when in Australia. Time and effort is necessary to pass that first hurdle when learning a new language. But as mentioned previously, with all the online possibilities today, there are so many more tools available to you to learn a new language.


  1. What are you interested in learning more about?


I became a member of the Norwegian Australian Chamber of Commerce, because I’m interested in learning more about Norwegian and Australian cooperation and businesses, and the importance of language and culture for this development. Networking and information talks like the one by Ulf Sverdrup on “The future of the European Union” are things I want to take part in.


  1. Are there any Norwegian traditions you miss?


The value of public schooling and hospitals, equal education for all children and youth. I don’t miss Norwegian food in general, but when I’m in Norway, I love eating typical Norwegian food, and when I’m in Australia, I like my Australian food. However, there is one thing that I miss and that’s Norwegian bread. Last year I came across this great Rye bread at “Rema”, and it’s impossible to find anything like that in Sydney. And of course, I miss keeping track of all the things happening in Norwegian cultural life, e.g. music, arts, writers and movies.


What I don’t miss? Maybe we take things a bit for granted in Norway. Except for the weather. It’s always the weather to keep us grounded.



Lene Skaug, teacher and translator. Master of Applied Linguistics (TESOL).


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Introducing the new Young Professionals board


The Norwegian-Australian Young Professionals is glad to introduce our new board (from left):

Alexander Paskal Paulsen - Vice President

Mariann Ratama - Event Manager

Marius Quamme Danielsen - President

Line Vo - Membership Manager


The board looks forward to continue building up the Young Professionals divison, and hope to see you at their future events.

The first event under the new board will be arranged on the 27th of June at 6pm at El Loco at Slip Inn in the CBD.

Please find the link to the facebook event here, and remember to like their facebook page.



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Celebrating Art and Business by Jasmijn Van Houten

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A variety of European business partners decked out the great hall of the National Gallery of Victoria on Monday night, to celebrate each other and the latest Melbourne Winter Masterpieces exhibition, and one rookie came along to see what it was all about.


The National Gallery of Victoria is no stranger to international guests, but the sheer variety of European voices that filled its great hall on Monday night is not often seen. European chambers joined together to present ‘Europeans at the Gallery’, an event celebrating European business in Australia as well as the ‘Van Gogh and the Seasons’ Melbourne Winter Masters exhibition that is currently exhibiting at the NGV. It was a display of unity that, in today’s political environment, is rare and incredibly welcome. 


“Which is why we’re glad that the UK is also here,” it was quipped. 


Personally, I had little experience with the world of European business, and was mainly drawn by the promise of being treated to a private viewing of ‘van Gogh and the Seasons,’ but even a positive newcomer, like yours truly, was able to glean that there was a positive vibe at the event. The presence of freely flowing food and drink was no direct obstacle to this, of course, but mainly it was a sense of genuine excitement about the myriad of exciting and differing voices being brought together that was to thank. 


Guest speakers on the night were Dr Ted Gott, senior International Art curator at the NGV, and Willem Cosijn from the Netherlands Consul-General. 


“Van Gogh, if pronounced correctly, should sound as if you’re very sick,” joked Cosijn, and as a fellow countrywoman, I can testify that he is not wrong. 


Representatives from varied European chambers of commerce were also present, ranging from Switzerland to The Netherlands and many more. 


Thanks to a big turnout, there was no shortage of interesting people to talk to - to the point of being almost stressful. It was fantastic to see such a melting pot of different backgrounds, as it is exactly this mix of differing influences, and not to mention the arts, that makes Melbourne such an exciting city. 


The event was rather brief, though, at precisely three hours, and we were politely asked to leave at 9 o’clock on the dot by staff. And, unfortunately, on a Monday night there’s little hope of an after-party - but that’s probably just my youth talking. 


The real star of the night, however, was the private viewing of the exhibition, which was curated according to the seasons, which were a source of fascination and inspiration to van Gogh. It is the largest collection of van Gogh’s to have ever travelled to Australia, and provides insight into his inspirations, including a room dedicated to Japanese art that inspired him, which is a connection not often made when discussing his work. 


This focus on the season recalls the latest major exhibition at the NGV dedicated to David Hockney, which also had a strong connection to the seasons. In this way, ‘van Gogh and the Seasons’ feels almost like a spiritual successor of the exhibition space. 


There’s little that can be said about van Gogh that hasn’t been said before, but it can be said that it would be hard to find a less perfect match than the marriage made between van Gogh and Europeans at the Gallery: the broad, bold strokes of van Gogh mirror the strength of trade and business between Europe and Australia.



A great article written about the Europeans at the Gallery event, which was held at the National Gallery of Victoria on the 29th of May.

Article is written by Jasmijn Van Houten from RMIT University, see original article here.

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Norwegian Chamber Launch Event in Perth was a great success

The Norwegian Chamber Launch Event in Perth on the 7th of June was a great success and an important benchmark for the continous growth of the Norwegian Chamber in Australia. 

The event had 40 attendess from multiple industries and companies in Perth, as well as great and insightful talks from KPMG, AMMA and the Norwegian Ambassador Unni Kløvstad.

We would like to welcome Yara Pilbara and DOF Subsea as corporate members in Perth, as well as  Kongsberg Maritime and Searcher Seismicas a business members in Perth.

Thank you to everyone attending the event, and we look forward to many more successful events in the future in Perth. Please contact us if you have any ideas for events or would like to cooperate in the future.



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Successful Europeans at the Gallery event in Melbourne

The Norwegian-Australian Chamber of Commerce had our first partner event in Melbourne this week, Monday 29th of May.

The event was a great success with 380 guests in total from the 14 participating European chambers.

We look forward to collaborating on similar events in the future and are currently looking for Regional Directors in the Melbourne area for the Chamber.



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On 18 April 2017, the Government announced that the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (Subclass 457) will be abolished and replaced with the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.  Some changes have already been implemented and more changes will be made throughout the year to transition from the Subclass 457 visa to the TSS.  The changes also affect the permanent residency visa under the Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186).


One of the changes which took effect on 19 April 2017 is that the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and the Consolidated Sponsored Occupation List (CSOL) have been replaced with the Medium and Long-term Strategic List (MLTSSL) and the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL). In the process, 216 occupations have been removed entirely from the visa program and 59 occupations have limitations (“caveats”) placed on them. The STSOL and MLTSSL will be reviewed every 6 months. The Government has already announced that further changes will come into effect on 1 July 2017, 31 December 2017 and 1 March 2018.

This means that if an employer wishes to sponsor an overseas employee either for a temporary visa or for permanent residency for which the employee currently qualifies, the application should be lodged as soon as possible with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) as changes may be made at any time without warning.  However, even if an application has been lodged and the requirements are met at the time of lodgement, the visa may still be rejected if the requirements are changed while the visa is being processed.  If this is the case, any fees that have been paid may or may not be recovered.


If you wish to discuss visa options for your employees or want more information on the proposed changes, please do not hesitate to contact us at or give us a call on (02) 9223 9399.


May 2017





This article contains comments of a general nature only and is provided as an information service only. The article also reflects the law as at the date it was written and may not take into account any recent or subsequent developments in the law. The article is not intended to be relied upon, nor is it a substitute for specific professional advice. No responsibility can be accepted by Schweizer Kobras, Lawyers & Notaries or the author(s) for any loss occasioned to any person doing anything as a result of anything contained in the article.


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Ms Mary Ellen Miller announced as Australia’s next Ambassador to Denmark, Iceland and Norway

On the 11th of April, 2017, Hon Julie Bishop announced the appointment of Ms Mary Ellen Miller as Australia's next Ambassador to Denmark with non-resident accreditation to Iceland and Norway.
Today I announce the appointment of Ms MaryEllen Miller as Australia's next Ambassador to Denmark with non-resident accreditation to Iceland and Norway.
Australia enjoys strong bilateral relations with Denmark, Iceland and Norway, and extensive people-to-people links, with over 78,000 Australians claiming ancestry from these three countries. We share an enduring commitment to global security and cooperate closely on human rights, gender equality, development cooperation, climate change, non-proliferation and disarmament, and trade liberalisation.
Australia, Denmark and Norway work together to counter violent extremism and terrorism including through our military contributions to the international Coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as well as the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, to which Iceland also contributes.
Norway and Denmark are important investment partners for Australia, with two-way investment in 2015 worth $22.1 billion and $5.5 billion. Two-way goods and services trade with Denmark, Norway and Iceland in 2015-16 was worth $2.5 billion, $1.2 billion and $149 million, respectively.
Ms Miller is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and was most recently Assistant Secretary, Non-Government Organisations & Volunteers Branch. She has held a range of positions in DFAT, including Assistant Secretary, Scholarships & Alumni Branch. Ms Miller holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of Canberra.
I thank outgoing Ambassador Damien Miller for his contributions to advancing Australia's interests in Denmark, Iceland and Norway since 2013.
Our members met with the newly appointed Ambassador, at a successful roundtable discussion hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, on the 7th of April.
The Norwegian Chamber President, Sophia Demetriades Toftdahl, welcomes the announcement of the appointment and looks forward to a productive relationship between the Chamber and the Ambassador. 
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The Norwegian Embassy Annual Business Seminar, 2016 Perth

November 17, 2016

On November 17, 2016, HE Ms Unni Kløvstad, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway invited more than 100 delegates from Norwegian companies with a presence in Australia to the 2016 Norwegian Embassy Annual Business seminar . The keynote address was by the Norwegian State Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Ms Ingvil Tybring Gjedde.

Following the keynote address, Miranda Taylor, the CEO of National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), spoke about unlocking commercial opportunities and drive Innovation; followed by Silje Troseth, General Manager Q-free who spoke about Smart Cities – Intelligent Transport Technology and Innovation for tomorrow’s societies. A panel of the three aforementioned seekers was then moderated by Paul Cleary, Journalist for the Australian and author of the book 'Trillion Dollar Baby'.

The second part of the seminar included interesting talks on how Norwegian Australian business can succeed employing resources from Innovation Norway, The Norwegian Embassy and The Norwegian Australian Chamber of Commerce, held by Svend Haakon Kristensen from Innovation Norway and Sophia Demetriades Toftdahl, President of the Norwegian Australian Chamber of Commerce.

Now in its third year, the Norwegian Embassy Annual Business Seminar is a professional update and networking opportunity for Norwegian companies operating or investing in Australia and the wider South Pacific region.

Delegates then enjoyed a  networking lunch with the seminar organisers and speakers.

Embassy staff, as well as representatives from the European Australian Business Council, Innovation Norway and Norwegian Australian Business Network were also be available to discuss business activities within the Embassy's jurisdiction of Australia, New Zealand, Cook Island, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Tuvalu.

Program and Speaker Profiles are included below. 

State Secretary Ingvil Tybring-Gjedde
The Global Energy Outlook Towards 2030 Seen from Norway. How to Innovate & Stay Ahead

Ingvil Smines Tybring-Gjedde was appointed Deputy Minister in the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on December 16th 2015. She is a representative of the Norwegian Progress Party (FrP), and deputy organizational leader of Oslo FrP. Tybring-Gjedde came from the position as Project Manager at Innovation Norway. Previously, she has worked as a Senior Adviser in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and with oil and gas in management positions at Innovation Norway and The Norwegian School of Management – BI.
Miranda Taylor, CEO of National Energy Resources Australia (NERA)
How to Unlock Commercial Opportunities and Drive Innovation 

Prior to appointment as CEO of National Energy Resources Australia, Miranda Taylor was the Director Environment, Safety & Operational Performance for APPEA. Miranda has more than 20 years' experience in strategic policy, risk management and stakeholder engagement, working with various industries and with State and Federal governments. Miranda has participated in a number of task forces and ministerial panels, and has presented at international oil and gas industry events. She facilitated APPEA's interaction with the global industry in response to the Gulf of Mexico well control integrity disaster and the Australian Montara incident. Miranda has an Honours Degree from The London School of Economics, London University in International Economics and Politics, and a Post Graduate Degree in Labour Relations.
Silje Troseth, General Manager Q-free
Smart Cities – Intelligent Transport Technology and Innovation for Tomorrow’s Societies

Silje Troseth has been a Transportation professional for over 15 years. In her work in the Transport Industry she has been focussing on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in the European, Asia Pacific and Australian markets. More recently Silje has been championing the Smart City concept and vison for Q-Free. She holds a Masters degree in Communications and Journalism from University of Technology Sydney. Born in Norway, Silje has called Australia her home since 1999.
Paul Cleary, The Australian
The Trillion Dollar Baby, the Norwegian Oil and Gas Adventure Seen from Australia

Paul Cleary is a prominent Australian journalist who has documented the politics and economics of resource extraction for more than a decade. He served as an adviser to the government of East Timor on resource-sector governance and negotiations, and has a doctorate from the Australian National University. He is the author of Too Much Luck, Mine-Field and Trillion Dollar Baby.

Sophia Demetriades Toftdahl, President, the NorwegianAustralian Chamber of Commerce (NACC)
How to Succeed In Australia?  

As a communications specialist, Sophia has been involved in the daily operation of business networks such as TiE and BNI, is a member of several chambers of commerce, has written 2 eBooks on leveraging networks to succeed, and a thesis on excellence in communication. She tailors communication to employers, employees, customers, & strategic partners.

The Norwegian Australian Business Network is for all intents and purposes an establishment of Norwegian Australian Chamber of Commerce. It launched in 2014, with the objective to be Australia’s premier Norwegian Australian business organisation.

Program Overview

Wednesday 16 November

17:00-19:00 Networking Cocktail Function

Thursday 17 November

8:30am Registration & Coffee

9:00am Welcome

H.E. Unni Kløvstad, Ambassador of Norway

9:10am The Global Energy Outlook Towards 2030 Seen From Norway. How to Innovate & Stay Ahead?

Ingvil Tybring-Gjedde, Deputy Minister, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy

9:30am How to Unlock Commercial Opportunities and Drive Innovation (tbc)

Miranda Taylor, CEO, National Energy Resources Australia (NERA)

9:45am Smart Cities – Intelligent Transport Technology and Innovation for Tomorrow’s Societies

Silje Troseth, General Manager Q-free

10:00am Panel Discussion with Q&A

Moderated by Paul Cleary


10:30am Coffee break

11:00am The Trillion Dollar Baby, The Norwegian Oil And Gas Adventure Seen From Australia

Paul Cleary, The Australian

11:30am How to Succeed Internationally?

Sven Haakon Kristensen, Innovation Norway

11:45am How to Succeed In Australia?

Sophia Demetriades Toftdahl, President, the NorwegianAustralian Chamber of Commerce (NACC)

12:00 pm How Can We Help? Working Together. Followed by Q&A

H.E. Unni Kløvstad, Ambassador of Norway

12:30pm Networking Lunch


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EU Chamber of Commerce Presidents explore EU-AU Economy with Handelsbanken

June 12, 2015

On June 12, The Norwegian Australian Chamber of Commerce invited Presidents from the other European Chambers for the Chambers second Boardroom breakfast at QT Hotel in Sydney. The aim of this event was to introduce the Norwegian companies to other European players in Australia and invite further Norwegian company representatives. Attendees were entertained and educated by Handeelsbanken Economist  Knut Anton Mork. Handelsbanken is the only Scandinavian bank with a presence in Australia.

First Secretary for the Norwegian Embassy in Canberra, Kaja Glomm, explained their presence in Australia and welcomed members to reach out should they need anything.

With outstanding food an in great company by 55 CEO's, this event resulted in further member subscriptions and stronger network ties within the European Australian community.

Sponsor: Handelsbanken

Speaker: Knut Anton Mork, Chief Economist for Handelsbanken Norway



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