Great achievements have been made in Sweden-China trade and investment over the past 30 years and the volume of bilateral trade and investment will increase even further, said Bo Landin, chairman of Sweden-China Trade Council in Stockholm.
In a recent interview with Xinhua News Agency, Landin said that his vision for 2020 is that the scope of trade and development between Sweden and China will be vastly widened.
“In 2020, to do business with China is mainstream business, everybody knows about China, they believe, but China will change and develop. China is not one country from a trade point of view, it is a continent,” said Landin.
“Our role will still be as I said before, continue to develop the platform for trade and investments, and also to work not only in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, but to be present in a better way around China,” Landin said.
The other way of widening the scope of trade is related to culture and the people.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Sweden-China Trade Council which was formed to answer the call of the Swedish forward- looking companies in late 1970s and early 1980s.
“At that time, a number of Swedish big export companies had already established themselves in China, or on their way to establish themselves in China. I think they identified very early the importance of China as a trade partner, but they also understood that they had to know more about China and to learn more about China and to share more experience. This was the basic reasons for forming the Sweden-China Trade Council,” Landin explained.
“Our mission for our member companies is to inform them about the economic development in China during these years, and we do this through various kinds of sources like we have a newsletter from our member companies, we arrange quite a number of different events over the years, we inform companies about different developments and we also invite our member companies and other speakers from their own experience share what they have been through in their trade with China,” said Soderstrom during the joint interview with Xinhua.
“We also received quite many delegations from China to Sweden, from local governments, provincial and municipality level. We have been visited by all provinces during these 30 years,” she said.
“We are very proud to be asked over the years to arrange the business seminars and business meetings in connection with very high profile business visits, for example in 2004 visit by Madam Wu Yi, then vice premier, in 2007, we had President Hu Jintao here in Stockholm and most recently in march this year by Vice-President Xi Jinping. All of these events have been extremely successful I think for our development of trade relations between the two countries,” said Soderstrom.
Over the past 30 years, the trade volume between China and Sweden increased from $100 million in 1978 to $9.6 billion in 2009. By the end of last year, a total of 1,026 investment projects from Sweden had been approved by China with a total investment of $1.96 billion, according to statistics from the Chinese Embassy in Stockholm. And over 600 Swedish companies are in China working in trade with China, according to Landin. China has become Sweden’s largest trade partner in Asia.
“We have for example the telecommunication industry, the construction equipment, material, power generation and distribution, textiles, those are the traditional trading sectors between the two sides,” Soderstrom said.
US companies still want to do business
Over the past years, a number of Swedish companies in sustainable areas have been involved in different eco-cities designing and construction. In infrastructure and city planning, Swedish companies do have a lot to offer with their knowledge and technology.
Landin said that the scale of cooperation should be widened to municipalities, regions and even universities on both sides since they are indirectly related to trade.
“We have always tried to avoid as much as possible protectionism from the Swedish side with all countries. This is something that we are very much working within the framework of the EU (European Union) too. The propositions coming from Sweden is always based on openness and free trade,” said Landin, who is worried about that global trade protectionism would affect Sweden as well as China in trade.
“We should jointly strive to have a balance in our trade and investment situation between our countries,” Landin said about the future of bilateral trade.