“Swedish exports are growing constantly, but not as quickly as exports from some growth countries, so our share of world trade is falling. However, during 2016, figures show for the first time that our share remained unchanged,” says Ylva Berg, CEO of Business Sweden.
Business Sweden regularly produces a report of Swedish exports, which fell from 2.1% on the global market in 2000 to 1.4% last year.
Ylva Berg believes that if Sweden is to defend its share of exports then more Swedish companies need to become established in important regions of growth such as Asia.
A new report from Business Sweden states that action is needed to attract foreign investment to Sweden after Brexit. The report writes that Sweden is too small and too peripheral a country to automatically win foreign investment. Ann Linde, minister for EU and trade, says, “We need to work harder than other countries need to.”
The main proposal is to increase earmarked investment to sectors in which Sweden has a competitive edge, including the vehicle industry, IT and telecoms and the pharmaceutical industry.
Ann Linde says other countries have already started working aggressively to persuade companies to move there. “In order to be part of the game we need to know the areas in which we have a chance. The report specifies this so now we do not need to spend energy investing in other areas,” she says.
The approaching end of economic sanctions on Iran will mean access to a huge new market not seen since Russia opened for trade after the Cold War. Swedish companies are among those eyeing the potential in Iran.
“We’re receiving a lot more visits from Swedish companies and more questions,” says Peter Tejler, Sweden’s ambassador to Iran.
Iran could “without doubt” become a major export market for Sweden, says Trita Parsi, president of the Iranian American Council in Washington, who is participating in Business Sweden’s annual conference for Swedish export promotion in the Middle East and Africa currently being held in Dubai.
Lars Erik Forsbergh, MD of Volvo Trucks in the Middle East, hopes to resume business in Iran as soon as the sanctions are lifted. The truck maker has kept relations with their Iranian partners alive since the early 2000s when Volvo Truck’s sales volume in Iran was upwards of 10,000 units per year.