Doing Business with Sweden
|Population||10.45 million (31/12/2021)|
|Religion||Christianity: Church of Sweden (Lutheranism, 56.4%)|
|State system||constitutional monarchy|
|Head of State||King Charles XVI Gustav|
|Head of government||Magdalena Andersson|
|Currency name||Swedish Krona (SEK)|
|Time shift||it isn’t|
|Nominal GDP (billion USD)||617.6|
|Economic growth (%)||4.9|
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy headed by King Carl XVI Gustaf, with a parliamentary democracy and a highly developed economy. It is the traditional political and economic leader of the region and, with its area of 449,964 km², it is the third largest country in the European Union.
Sweden is a country with a high level of social policy and at the same time a country with one of the highest living standards in the world. It is a world leader in science, research and innovation with a very high intensity of R&D spending. Sweden has the ambition to become the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2045 and would like to produce electricity exclusively from renewable sources by 2040.
A very solid diversified industrial base is the backbone of the Swedish economy, technological and innovative companies have increasingly come to the fore in recent years.
Sweden is a strongly export-oriented market economy and is a supporter of free market principles. More than half of all Swedish products are exported abroad, and a number of Swedish companies have a global presence. The characteristic features of the domestic Swedish market are its low absorptive capacity (relatively small market), conservative attitude of customers, preference for domestic products or products of leading world brands and emphasis on quality, design and brand.
The main sectoral opportunities for Czech exporters exist in the energy, construction and engineering industries, as well as in selected entertainment and leisure sectors, such as the dynamically developing video game industry, which is closely linked to the perspective field of information and telecommunications technologies. Due to the rapid transformation of the transport network, new opportunities are emerging in the sector of the transport industry and infrastructure.
After the main effects of the pandemic have subsided, the Swedish economy is once again growing at a dynamic pace, supported by a recovery in consumption and private investment. Industrial production and exports remain the driving force behind the economy. In 2022, GDP is expected to grow by approximately 3.3%. Swedish household demand is supported by falling unemployment and rising wage rates. Inflation is expected to peak at 3% in 2022 before returning to the 2% target. Sweden’s gross public debt, expressed as a percentage of GDP, is still among the lowest in the EU member states. Expansionary fiscal and monetary policy will have a positive effect on domestic consumption growth, support adaptation to global climate change and strengthen the social security system.
Practical telephone numbers (emergency services, police, firemen, information lines, etc.)
Area code from abroad
The most important phone numbers for visitors to Sweden:
- Firefighters, emergency services, police: 112
- Diplomatic service of the MFA of Sweden: (0)8-4051000
- Danderyd Hospital: (0)123 550 00
- Telephone line faults: (0)90400
- Information about phone numbers in Sweden: 118 118
- Information on phone numbers abroad: 118 119
Important web links and contacts
- General information: www.sweden.se
- The Swedish Institute: www.si.se
- Yellow Pages: www.gulasidorna.se
- Weather: www.smhi.se
- Parliament: www.riksdagen.se
- The government and all ministries use a common website: www.regeringen.se
Confederations, Unions and Associations
- Confederation of Swedish Enterprises and Entrepreneurs – Näringsliv: www.svensktnaringsliv.se
- Association of Swedish Steel Producers: www.jernkontoret.se
- Swedish National Energy Board: www.energimyndigheten.se
- Swedish Board of Agriculture: www.jordbruksverket.se
- National Forestry Council: www.skogsstyrelsen.se
- Swedish Farmers’ Federation: www.lrf.se
- Swedish Veterinary Association: www.svf.se
- Swedish National Council for Industrial and Technical Development – NUTEK: www.tillvaxtverket.se
- National Consumer Council: www.konsumentverket.se
- Association of Grain Growers and Dealers: www.lantmannen.se
Business and economics
- SE National Board of Trade: www.kommers.se
- Swedish Business and Investment Board – Business Sweden: www.business-sweden.se
- Swedish Chambers of Commerce: www.sverigeshandelskamrar.se
- Stockholm Chamber of Commerce: www.chamber.se
- Swedish National Road Transport Board – Vägverket: www.trafikverket.se
- Customs Administration: www.tullverket.se
- National Institute for Economic Research – Konjunkturinstitutet: www.konj.se
- Swedish International Development Assistance Agency – SIDA: www.sida.se
Fairs and Exhibitions
- Elmia Mässan Jönköping: www.elmia.se/en/Program
- Stockholm Mässan: www.stockholmsmassan.se/program
- Kista Mässan: www.kistamassan.se/en/Calendar
- Malmö Mässan: www.malmomassan.se/en/Calendar
- Gothenburg (Svenska Mässan): www.svenskamassan.se/en/calendar/
- Luleå Expo: www.luleaexpo.se
Comprehensive information on all ongoing trade fair events and conferences can be found on the website http://exponytt.se/.
Academic and research institutions
- Royal Academy of Sciences: www.kva.se
- Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry: www.ksla.se
- Swedish Business Research Institute: www.hui.se
- Swedish Institute for Transport and Communications: www.sika-institute.se
- Institute for Paper and Pulp Research: www.innventia.se
- Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies – SIEPS: www.sieps.se
Finance and banks
- Swedish National Bank – Riksbank: www.riksbank.se
- Nordea: www.nordea.com
- Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken – SEB: www.seb.se
- Handelsbanken: www.handelsbanken.se
- Swedbank: www.swedbank.se
- Stockholm Stock Exchange: www.nasdaqomxnordic.com
The Ten Commandments for Doing Business with Sweden
The PaulSourcing agency has prepared ten recommendations for doing business with Sweden for Czech entrepreneurs interested in business relations with Sweden. In 2020, it was supplemented with 4 current tips.
4 recommendations for entering the Swedish market during the coronavirus pandemic situation:
- Search for business partners
On the Swedish market, you can operate independently or through business partners or distributors. Having a business partner in Sweden is an advantage, but of course it is possible to serve the market directly if you have the capacity to do so.Finding business partners or opportunities is not easy. Most of the websites are also written in English, but unfortunately there is no single comprehensive database of contacts where they can be easily found. The help of the foreign office of PaulSourcing Stockholm (ZK Stockholm) can therefore be beneficial in this step – it has an overview of companies, search experience, and in addition to Google and LinkedIn, it also has its own database of contacts, accumulated over the years of the office’s existence.
- Choosing a partner
Choosing a business partner is important. After compiling a list of the maximum possible contacts, it is good to ask myself who is the right partner for me, while it is best to base my experience on other export markets. In general, it can be said that what works in other Western European countries can also work in Sweden. If experience from other European countries is lacking, it is good to focus on medium and small businesses. The big players in Sweden have high demands on both the quality of goods and services, as well as on references, and it is usually difficult to get in touch with specific buyers.
- Choosing a business strategy An exclusive partner for the whole of Sweden, or more representatives for individual regions? Both can work. Although Sweden is a vast country, trade is concentrated in a few densely populated areas. If you decide on an exclusive partner, it pays to conclude the first contract for a year, and condition the exclusivity on a jointly determined volume of business in the first year. Expect an investment in the development of activities and also a lower price compared to the competition, especially in the first year of business. The local market is demanding and it is difficult to stand out against the competition. Share these costs with your Swedish business partner, but at the same time don’t forget to motivate him with favorable margins.
- Support of the PaulSourcing foreign office The PaulSourcing office for Scandinavia is based in Stockholm. It is therefore permanently present in Sweden and can be your partner and an extended hand while you build your business in this country. Her credo is not to provide you with a list of companies and to take care of you more, but when you decide to try your luck on the Swedish market, she is here to cover that part of the journey with you as your assistant and partner you can turn to at any time.
Ten for trading with Sweden
- Be punctual Plan your meeting in Sweden well and arrive on time. If you are late, report it. It is not customary to make appointments before nine in the morning and after four in the afternoon.
- Don’t be afraid of the informal atmosphere In Sweden, people are called by their first names, adapt. The atmosphere of business meetings is relaxed, a tie and a suit are not necessary.
- English is a must In Sweden, English is used as a business language, your promotional materials and website should be available in English.
- Prepare thoroughly for the business meeting Prepare carefully for the meeting, set a goal. Speak clearly, give truthful information backed by facts and figures. It is advisable to remind yourself after the meeting, by email or phone.
- Be patient Decision-making in Sweden is done collectively, opinions are taken into account regardless of company hierarchy. It may take some time to evaluate the outcome of the negotiations. Be patient, but don’t stop communicating.
- Communicate Show respect and listen well to Swedish partners. Be polite and cultured. Scandinavian business partners are reliable and fair, be honest and open too.
- Avoid open conflicts Swedes do not like open conflicts. If they arise, they are resolved through communication and negotiation. A successful deal is considered one where both parties are satisfied.
- You build trust with references References are of significant value, especially from other countries in Scandinavia or Western Europe.
- Innovation opens doors Sweden is a country open to innovation. What is new and different is attractive. Present innovation as potential for quality improvement and cost savings.
- You get ahead with honor and honesty The sense of honor and honesty is great in Sweden. It is not easy to build a business relationship, but if it is successful, it is a quality and stable partnership.