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Sweden launches new trade promotion agency

Sweden launches new trade promotion agency

Published: 16 Jan 2013 08:45 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Jan 2013 08:45 GMT+01:00

Sweden has launched a new investment and trade promotion agency, Business Sweden, to replace two previous organizations that helped Swedish companies expand abroad and attract foreign investment to Sweden.

“The new brand is the beginning of a common journey in the interest of Sweden. The aim is to make us an even more attractive, innovative and competitive partner to do business with, both at home and abroad,” Business Sweden CEO Ulf Berg said in a statement.

Previously, Swedish companies looking for help setting up in foreign markets turned to the Swedish Trade Council, (Exportrådet), an agency co-owned by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swedish Foreign Trade Association (Sveriges Allmänna Utrikeshandelsförening).

A separate organization, Invest Sweden, was charged with enticing foreign companies to invest and set up operations in Sweden.

However, the government decided last year to shutter Invest Sweden after it was accused of inflating figures about how many jobs its activities had created in Sweden.

Invest Sweden's operations were then taken over by the Swedish Trade Council, which was to be launched as a new agency at the start of 2013.

"We can in principle take on any assignment related to exports and investment in Sweden,” Berg said.

"Alongside this integrated approach, the combined knowledge and experience of the Swedish Trade Council and Invest Sweden will enable us to offer our clients a full range of support."

Like the Swedish Trade Council, Business Sweden is a public-private venture jointly owned by the government and private business designed to "open doors at all levels" to promote Swedish trade abroad and investments in Sweden.

Speaking with Swedish business daily Dagens Industri (DI), Berg downplayed the controversy that led to the change.

"I don't see it as if the Trade Council is taking over anything. We're changing our name and identity in order to create something totally new," he said.

Berg added that the new structure may give the private sector more influence over investment promotion activities.

While Invest Sweden was financed entirely with taxpayer money, Business Sweden expects to earn money by selling its services to companies.

In contrast to its predecessor organization, Business Sweden will have one name for use both at home and abroad, rather than relying on a Swedish name with an English translation.

"We have nearly 600 employees in 60 countries. Only 100 of them are in Sweden. So having an English name was the obvious choice," she told media trade publication Resumé.

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Your comments about this article

12:00 January 16, 2013 by cogito
New name...same old....
13:39 January 16, 2013 by Rishonim
Exportrådet) is just a bad and inefficient organization. They are disguised as trying to help Swedish company do business abroad but in reality are just a bunch of really bad consultants. I consulted with them on several occasions regarding selling my products in several markets and their information was nothing less than useless. Yet, they still wanted to charge me SEK 60K consulting package. In order for this organization to work they need to reshuffle the management but also demonstrate to the businesses that they really care and not only selling their quasi subsidized consulting packages. They should also appoint people with knowledge of the local language for the country they are working in.
13:47 January 16, 2013 by benkku
Maybe they just need to kick migrationsverket in the butt to get more, qualified people working and establishing business in Sweden.

When being from Suisse it can take you 2 years just to get your ID so you can start your business. When you finally have your ID and - let me say - you are living in Karesuando, than you can drive twice to Luleå which makes twice 800 km just to get your ID-card.
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