Sweden’s business sector gives new ministers a chance

Sweden’s business sector is willing to give newly appointed ministers for trade and finance - Pär Nuder and Thomas Östros - the benefit of the doubt, noting that while Prime Minister Göran Persson’s new Cabinet is marked by rejuvenation, there is hardly any change in either trade or finance policies. For the business sector, Persson is bound to remain as the de facto finance minister.

“I hope that Pär Nuder will remember his speech at the conference on economic growth and his positive remarks about small entrepreneurs,” commented Gunvor Engström, president of the Federation of Private Enterprises.

Ebba Lindsö, president of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprises, said she hopes for a more ‘company-friendly’ policy.

“We have a new competition climate so it is crucial that the government acts for growth and that we create more companies. The government reshuffle could entail a revitalisation,” said Lindsö.

Both Nuder and Östros said they would review the tax system and pursue constructive talks with the business sector.

Ericsson forces IT consultants to move to China

Ericsson has issued a clear signal to its Swedish subcontractors: come to China or risk losing your business with us, reported DN.

“This could be taken as a threat but we must view it as an opportunity,” comments Tommy Persson, president of IT consultancy firm Sigma. DN reported that several companies plan to outsource jobs in Asia instead of Sweden.

Atlas Copco expanding in China

Atlas Copco expects to pursue strong sales growth in China next year and is eyeing several acquisition prospects, according to CEO Gunnar Brock on a visit to the country.

“At current pace we expect to grow 30 to 40 per cent in China next year but this will depend partly on the actions of Chinese authorities,” Brock said.

In 2003 Atlas Copco grew by 40 per cent in the Chinese market compared to 2002. Sales in China accounted for 6 per cent of Group turnover last year.

New stores lift trade

Increased tourism, new shopping malls and store establishments are driving trade growth in Sweden, according to a report from the Swedish Research Institute of Trade, HUI, which noted that Swedish trade and commerce grew 4 per cent last year.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri


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