‘Brexit will hurt and Sweden needs to be ready for it’

'Brexit will hurt and Sweden needs to be ready for it'
Sweden exports a lot of wood to the UK, but would it continue to do so if Britain leaves the EU. Photo: David Magnusson/SvD/TT
Sweden risks being badly hurt by Brexit and needs to prepare for the worst, according to a fresh analysis from the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce.

Sweden’s regions would be well-advised to prepare export strategies and contingency plans to soften the blow if Britons vote to leave the 28-nation bloc in a June referendum, the chamber says.

“Sweden is one of the countries that risk being hit hardest if Britain leaves the EU. We have very extensive trade with the UK, as well as considerable exchange in services,” the chamber’s chief economist Andreas Hatzigeorgiou told The Local. 

If Britain leaves and trade barriers go up, Sweden’s regions need an action plan, he added.

“For example, while the UK is Sweden’s fourth largest export market, it is the biggest export market for the Stockholm region. A British exit could undermine jobs in Stockholm and other regions across Sweden.”  

He added: “They should also consider putting their eggs in different baskets by examining other countries that could be attractive export markets.” 

But Hatzigeorgiou also argued that Brexit could present opportunities for Sweden. 

“It’s possible that some British companies might be interested in relocating to Sweden, a country firmly anchored in the EU, with a well-educated workforce and solid infrastructure.”  

Sweden exported 84.8 billion kronor ($10.1 billion) worth of goods to Britain last year. 

The Stockholm region exported more goods to the UK (27.3 billion kronor) in 2014 than to any other country. But while Stockholm is likely to be hit negatively by Brexit, four other regions are even more exposed, the chamber says. 

Kronoberg exports 11 percent of its goods to the UK and tops the list of regions most likely to suffer if Britain quits the EU. Kalmar, Västerbotten and Norrbotten are also more exposed to Brexit than the capital.