• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Sweden missing chance to host UN agency'

Ann Törnkvist · 18 Dec 2013, 07:01

Published: 18 Dec 2013 07:01 GMT+01:00

In the summer, Uncitral, the UN Commission that formulates and regulates international trade law, drew up carefully negotiated rules for increased transparency in arbitration between private companies and states. The increase in such contracts has led to an increasing demand for transparency.

"Investor-state disputes have grown quickly in the past ten years," explains Annette Magnusson, Secretary General of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce.

"And Stockholm and Sweden have developed into a very strong venue (to resolve) this type of dispute," she tells The Local.

The UN has been hunting for a home for its new transparency rules, a centre that would not only put them  into play, but also, Magnusson argues, publicize the importance of transparency.

She has asked the government whether Sweden should raise its hand and volunteer to house the new office function for the new rules on transparency.

"Transparency is one of Sweden's core values. We have the right to public information law (offentlighetsprincipen) and while more and more countries are now pushing for greater transparency, that principle is so fundamental to us." 

"We are used to and we cherish transparency," says Magnusson. "In addition, we have a very strong tradition of international arbitration."

So far, however, the reception from the government has been lukewarm. For Magnusson, the establishment of a registry for transparency in investor-state dispute resolution in Stockholm would not only be a gesture of goodwill if the government said it was ready to finance it, but it would also place Sweden on the global map when it comes to the growing field of disputes that concern either public money or the public interest - or both.

"It isn't rare that these disputes touch upon public interest, for example waste management in a city, or access to clean water, or when a state changes environmental policy so it affects a contract," Magnusson explains.

"Traditionally, these cases have often been confidential, but when it comes to public interest there is a strong movement to make them transparent." 

The new secretariat should be up and running by April 1st, 2014 if all goes to plan. It leaves a slim window for the Swedish government to register its interest, Magnusson argues. 

"The government has shown some interest, but they're moving too slowly. There has neither been a yes or a no, and they need to be quick on their feet," she adds. 

Story continues below…

The arbitration secretariat would employ at most two persons.

Magnusson also says having the arbitration secretariat in Stockholm would strengthen Sweden's global trademark. 

"If you do business abroad, and the other party knows nothing about Sweden apart from its position as a neutral venue for high-stake international disputes, that puts Sweden in a positive light," she says.

"It would provide an advantage to Swedish companies working abroad." 

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
US election
What Americans in Sweden think of Trump and Clinton
The Local spoke to Americans in Sweden after the first US presidential debate. Photo: David Goldman/AP/TT

The Local spoke to four US voters based in Sweden about who they are planning on voting for in the November election, and it looks like it's complicated.

Video
Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Should a condom be sent into space? It's the burning question some Swedes have posed. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Craig Rubadoux/AP

'We can't be sure what alien sex organs look like.'

Mum gives birth on toilet after being told to take paracetamol
File photo of a baby not related to the story. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A woman has described how she was told to take a painkiller when she phoned a hospital in Ystad, southern Sweden, in pain. Just moments later she gave birth to a baby in the toilet.

Indians in Sweden told to be wary of travel document scam
File photo of a man using a phone not related to the story. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The Embassy of India in Stockholm has urged Indian citizens in Sweden to be wary of scammers who ask for money to fix fabricated errors in travel documents.

Swedes shell out for season's first lobster
Meet Pontus Johansson and his lobster. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Best not to look at the price tag.

Witnesses 'afraid to talk' to police about Malmö shooting
Police investigating the shooting in Malmö. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

Police are appealing for witnesses to a shooting which killed a man and injured three in a residential street of Malmö – but it is an uphill battle.

Opinion
Swedish leaders need to be prepared for tech challenges
Will robots take over your jobs? Photo: Eric Piermont/AP

Will your job still exist in ten years' time? How will society and businesses adapt to the advancements that are on their way?

Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape'
Tech star Tayyab Shabab, who is being threatened with deportation. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Swedish politicians are keen to talk up the country's startups – but their migration rules threaten to strangle them, argues The Local's managing editor James Savage.

Startup heavyweights back tech ace told to leave Sweden
Spotify founder Daniel Ek is one of the big tech names backing Tayyab Shabab (right). Photo: Ingvar Karmhed/SvD/TT & personal

Major names in the tech community have rallied behind a developer who was told he must leave Sweden within a month due to an admin error made by his former employer.

Why Sweden could deport hundreds of refugee children
A home for lone refugee children in Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Several hundred lone refugee children could now be sent home from Sweden due to a change in how the rule on exceptional circumstances is applied when making asylum decisions.

Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Blog updates

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
Gallery
People-watching: September 9th-11th
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,963
jobs available