Sweden’s profile in Malaysia strengthened

The appointment to head Sweden’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is a first as Ambassador for Helena Sångeland who spent the last 3 1/2 years up to this summer as counsellor at Sweden’s embassy in Hanoi. And Kuala Lumpur was a posting both the new trade secretary and she wanted.
     “Malaysia with its history, culture and nature attracts me,” says Helena Sångeland explaining why she applied for the Kuala Lumpur position.” And Malaysia’s role in the growth area of Asia will be interesting to follow.”
     She says Sweden’s and Malaysia’s bilateral relations have reached a stage when there are good conditions for a widening and deepening of the ties.
     “I’m thinking in particular of trade, investments, research cooperation and tourism. Personally, I look forward to travel with my family in the country and experience all that Malaysia has to offer,” says the new Ambassador who brings with her husband and two children.
     She will kick of this fall with a range of events. For example the official opening of the Swedish Trade Council’s office in Kuala Lumpur, scheduled to take place late September.
     “This office creates better opportunities to support Swedish business’ ambitions to establish a foothold in Malaysia. Furthermore, Malaysia’s presidency of ASEAN this year is important for us to follow,” says Helena Sångeland.
     The Trade Secretary, who will manage the Trade Council’s office in Kuala Lumpur, has just been officially appointed as well.
     His name is Thomas Dahl. He has spent most of his 20 years abroad in Asia, the latest position before Kuala Lumpur was as head of the Swedish Trade Council office in Seoul.
     The KL Trade Office will probably have four more staff and initially cover Malaysia. By 2006 plans are to let the office expand the coverage to Singapore as well.
     “Malaysia has felt the increasing competition from China over the last few years but still managed relatively fine as Malaysia tries to attract value added industry segments like IT and biotechnology. It is also within these segments small- and medium sized Swedish companies have many opportunities in Malaysia,” says Thomas Dahl who first came to Malaysia 1987.
     Malaysia is also where he met his wife, and the couple’s three sons are all born there.

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