Sweden launches new trade promotion agency

Sweden launches new trade promotion agency
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.

The Local/dl

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