After the economic downturn during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the export has recovered poorly, and the motor in the Swedish economy has been internal consumption. In the light of this, the Government of Sweden, in October 2015, presented a new export strategy developed in collaboration with the business sector, where the challenges faced by Swedish foreign trade are addressed.
Stella Lovén, President of SACC New England (SACC NE), welcomes the export strategy.
– “The strategy clarify that organizations like ours, has an important role to play as an active actor on-site, to accelerate trade, investment relationships and promote entrepreneurship, innovation and business opportunities. The activities conducted by SACC NE should not be underestimated as a resource to achieve the goals stated in the strategy.”
The Swedish economic is heavily dependent on exports. In 2014, total exports of goods and services were equivalent to 45 per cent of Sweden’s GDP. According to the export strategy, exports remain strong, but Sweden’s share of the export market is decreasing in relation to the rest of the world.
In order to meet the challenges that Swedish foreign trade is facing; Swedish exports must reach emerging markets to a greater extent, more small and medium-sized enterprises must have the courage, and the will, to export and services and systems must reach even higher up the value chain. In addition, Sweden’s attractiveness to investments, and tourism must increase. The Government is also pointing out that open global trade is of primary interest to confront the challenges.
EU’s internal market for goods and services has so far been vital for the growth of Swedish enterprises and exports. However, the Government has concluded that due to an expanding middle class, and growing income levels in other markets, Swedish export must increase to countries outside Europe in both the short and the long term. The Government has listed 26 markets that should be prioritized – one is the market in the U.S.
The aim of the export strategy is partly to contribute to the Government of Sweden’s ambitious overall goal to have the EU’s lowest unemployment rate in 2020.* The goals in the export strategy are to:
- increase exports; both in absolute figures and as a proportion of GDP
- increase Sweden’s attractiveness to investments, skills and tourists
- increase the proportion of export businesses
- increase Swedish enterprises’ participation in the global economy
In order to achieve these goals, the export strategy committee has elaborated 22 prioritized focus areas where general measures have been formulated. Within the scope of the export strategy, and in order to implement the measures stated therein, the Government of Sweden has allocated SEK 75 millions for 2015 and SEK 150 million for 2016 (in total SEK 800 million until 2019) as financial support.
To summary; SACC NE is an important actor in order to increase Swedish exports, strengthen Sweden’s image in the New England region, and thereby attract foreign enterprises to invest in Sweden, but also to reinforce Sweden’s attractiveness to talent and attract more visitors to travel to Sweden. The Accelerator Program developed by SACC NE, aiming to making it easier for small and medium sized enterprises to entry the U.S. market, is also functioning as a tool to create business opportunities and increase export.
By: Kajsa Morawetz
* According to a report published by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in February 2015 (EU:s lägsta arbetslöshet 2020?), the unemployment rate for Sweden 2014 was 7.9 per cent. Austria has the lowest unemployment rate, and has an estimated unemployment rate of 4.4 per cent for 2019. This means that 430,000 new job opportunities need to be created in order to be at the same level as Austria for 2020.