© Crown copyright 2017
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exporting-to-denmark/exporting-to-denmark
1. Denmark export overview
Denmark is a wealthy, educated and open economy, receptive to UK products and investments. Danes are sophisticated buyers with a good reputation for paying suppliers on time.
Contact a Department for International Trade (DIT) Denmark export adviser for a free consultation if you’re interested in exporting to Denmark.
The World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report ranks Denmark third in the world, and top location in Europe.
Benefits for UK businesses exporting to Denmark include:
- prosperous economy
- gateway to the Scandinavian and Baltic countries
- close to growing economies of Germany, Sweden and Poland
- English widely spoken
Strengths of Danish market include:
- easy access to northern Europe markets via Copenhagen hub airport and high quality motorway network
- well educated population with a high proportion of university graduates
- advanced telecommunication infrastructure
- takes only 24 hours to establish a company online
Doing business in Denmark is very similar to doing business in the UK. If your product or service is successful in the UK, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful in Denmark.
Denmark is a member of the European Union (EU) so there are no significant trade barriers in exporting to Denmark.
3. Growth potential
3.1 Economic growth
The Danish economy grew at 1.7% in 2016 and is forecast to grow by 1.9% in 2017.
Denmark is one of the EU’s best performing economies. It has:
- low inflation
- strong growth
- low unemployment at 6.2%
3.2 Greenland and the Faroe Islands
Greenland and the Faroe Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but have their own systems of government, law and taxation. They are outside of direct EU jurisdiction.
There are differences relating to employment and importing goods.
Contact the Department for International Trade (DIT) team in Denmark for more information on doing business in Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
3.3 Trade agreements
Contact the SOLVIT team if you have market access issues relating to the operation of the Single Market.
4. UK and Denmark trade
Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Denmark was valued at £11.1 billion in 2016. The UK exported £2.5 billion in goods and £3.2 billion in services to Denmark in 2016.
Denmark was the UK’s 23rd largest export market in 2015.
UN comtrade ranked Denmark’s top imports of goods from the rest of the world during 2016 as:
- boilers and other machinery
- electrical and electronic equipment
- vehicles (other than railway or tramway vehicles)
- distillation products and mineral fuels, including oil
- plastics and plastic products
- optical, photographic, technical and medical apparatus
- iron and steel
- clothing and accessories (not knit or crochet)
- furniture, lighting, signs and prefabricated buildings
UN Comtrade ranks Denmark’s top services imports from the rest of the world during 2015 as:
- business services, such as consultancy, technical services and research and development (R&D)
- computer and information services
- construction services
- personal, cultural, and recreational services
- royalties and license fees
- communications services
- financial services
- insurance services
5. Opportunities for UK businesses in Denmark
Department for International Trade (DIT) provides free international export sales leads from its worldwide network. Search for export opportunities.
5.1 Infrastructure and engineering sector in Denmark
Denmark currently has extensive opportunities within construction, engineering and transportation. This includes one of the largest rail renovation projects in Europe, running until 2025.
Contact Mark Chapman, email@example.com, for more information on infrastructure and engineering opportunities.
5.2 Cleantech and energy sector in Denmark
Denmark is the world leader in Cleantech and low carbon related industries. Danish companies control one third of the global wind market and are the world leaders in supply chain technologies to the wind industry.
Danish investment in UK wind energy offers engineering and technology opportunities within:
- nacelle components shipping and installation
- Operations and Maintenance (O&M)
The Danish oil and gas industry is also expanding. Around £4 billion is being spent in the North Sea, in both UK and Danish waters. Opportunities lie in all areas of offshore Exploration and Production (E&P) activities including:
Contact Asbjorn Dalgaard, Asbjorn.Dalgaard@mobile.trade.gov.uk, for more information on opportunities in the cleantech and energy sectors in Denmark.
5.3 Healthcare sector in Denmark and United Nations
Denmark currently has one of the largest hospital infrastructure projects in Europe. An estimated £4.5 billion will be spent from 2013 to 2020 on new super hospitals countrywide.
Opportunities exist within:
- construction and infrastructure
- medical devices
- general hospital equipment
Copenhagen is now the United Nations (UN) second most important procurement centre outside of Geneva. Major UN agencies taking around £3 billion of decisions include:
- United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
- World Health Organisation (WHO)
The main areas of procurement are for:
- emergency equipment
- medical devices
- water and sanitation
Contact Joanne Ganthier, Joanne.Ganthier@mobile.trade.gov.uk, for more information on opportunities in the healthcare and UN operations sectors in Denmark.
5.4 Defence and security sector in Denmark
Denmark has a growing defence and security interests. Export opportunities are available in all areas military hardware and software. There is an increasing interest in:
- cyber security
- outsourcing of military logistics and management
Contact Export Control Organisation (ECO) to check your goods you are meeting legal requirements for export.
Contact Susannah Fairbairn, Susannah.Fairbairn@mobile.trade.gov.uk, for more information on defence and security opportunities in Denmark.
5.5 Other sectors in Denmark
Other sectors offering promising opportunities for UK companies include:
- Information Communications Technology (ICT)
- professional services
- food and drink
- consumer goods
6. Start-up considerations
The traditional routes of market entry are:
- direct exports
- finding a distributor or wholesaler
- joint venture
Once you have a foothold in the market you should consider starting up a Danish subsidiary. This is a quick and relatively easy process in Denmark.
7. Legal considerations
EU legislation forms the basis of Danish law for trade and commerce.
Contact the Department for International Trade (DIT) team in Denmark to help find tax and legal advisers before entering into agreements.
7.1 Standards and technical regulations
Products and packaging should meet EU standards.
The Danish Standards Agency has responsibility for standards.
7.2 Intellectual property
Trademarks, designs, patents and copyright are the principal forms of Intellectual Property (IP) protection available to companies and individuals.
IP law, especially for patent protection, is not totally harmonised within the EU.
The Danish Patent and Trademark Office has responsibility for IP in Denmark.
8. Tax and customs considerations
The UK and Denmark have signed a double taxation convention.
The Danish tax authority SKAT provides more information on taxation in Denmark.
8.1 Value Added Tax (VAT)
VAT is charged at 25% on all products and services.
Check with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) regarding VAT refund of business expenses incurred in Denmark.
8.2 Company tax
Companies are taxed at a flat rate of 23% on income from Danish sources when the:
- company is registered in Denmark
- management is based in Denmark
The corporate tax rate will fall to 22% in 2016.
A special tonnage tax applies in Denmark in relation to the shipping industry. This tax is an alternative to the normal corporate income tax regime for shipping companies resident in Denmark.
8.3 Income tax
Resident individuals are taxed on their worldwide income. You are deemed to be resident when you’ve lived in Denmark for 6 months. There are special rules for foreign experts.
The internal market of the EU is a single market which allows the free movement of goods and services. Therefore no import duties are applicable.
Goods which are in free circulation within the EU can move between member states without being subject to any documentation requirements.
This does not apply to excise or controlled goods which still require documentation.
9. Entry requirements
You do not need a visa to enter Denmark, but are advised to travel with a valid passport.
9.1 Travel advice
If you’re travelling to Denmark for business, check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice beforehand.
Contact the Department for International Trade (DIT) team in Denmark for more information and advice on opportunities for doing business in Denmark.