Sweden eyes greater trade ties

Sweden eyes greater trade ties

Sweden, a major investor in Karnataka across diverse sectors, is expecting bilateral trade and investment to take off in 2016 backed by the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with European Union.

In an interaction with Deccan Herald, Swedish Ambassador to India Harald Sandberg said that bilateral trade between Sweden and India amounted to more than $2 billion in 2014, with exports of goods from the Scandinavian countries, accounting for two thirds of that amount.

“I expect that the FTA agreement with the EU will further boost our bilateral trade. Also I am having great faith in the growing economic prowess of India, which can withstand any global onslaughts,” he said.

He said the bilateral trade with India from 2011 to 2013 witnessed a tepid growth, but it witnessed an uptick in 2015. “During the first nine months of 2015, Swedish exports to India grew 7 per cent over the same period in 2014. India’s exports to Sweden increased 11 per cent. For the full year in 2015, we do hope that the growth perhaps will be upward 15-20 per cent,” he said.

Sandberg said India currently hosts more than 160 companies from Sweden, and 80 per cent of them invested as per their commitments in 2015. Majority of the Swedish companies are present in manufacturing, automotive, telecom, IT and retail. “Swedish companies employ 1,60,000 people directly, and 1.1 million people indirectly. Here, Karnataka employs over 30,000 people, as our major companies like Volvo, Scania, and ABB, are present here,”  he said.

He said Swedish companies like ABB, Volvo, Ericsson, Sandvik, Scania, Astra Zeneca, Atlas Copco and SKF have invested in manufacturing and R&D in India. As part of the single-brand retail legislation, furniture company IKEA and fashion brand H&M are among the first companies to have received approvals in India.

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