More networking with local chambers needed

”As days went by the understanding that we must do more networking than now with local Swedish chambers just grew stronger and stronger,” says Sweden´s ambassador to Malaysia, Bruno S Beijer.
     Scandasia interviewed Bruno Beijer in Kuala Lumpur just after his return following the road show he and the Swedish ambassador to Singapore, Teppo Tauriainen, did together with their trade officers in Sweden from 19 to 23 April.
     They gave presentations and individual consultations at the Trade Council in Stockholm, and at local chambers of commerce in Uppsala, Västerås, Göteborg and Malmö.
     ”It is not always people at home know that the embassies can act as local resources here and what we can do for them,” explains Bruno Beijer.”We need more networking.”
     Currently a lot of attention in Swedish business and media is focused on China and India.
     Two huge Asian markets that carry a lot of potential and opportunities but also are quite difficult and time consuming to establish a foothold in.
     Still, that is where the spotlight is.
     ”So we thought the time was right for us to inform Swedish companies about the opportunities in South East Asia. The market potential here is good and it is easier to get started, up and running, in South East Asia than in China and India.”
     But there are hard figures that indicate Swedish trade has gone elsewhere in Asia.
     For the last few years all of Asean´s member states, except Vietnam, show negative growth in the Swedish trade statistics.
     ”Yes, but the longer I am here the more I understand that trade statistics alone is not the whole truth. Lots of trade is done trough other countries. For example some Swedish cars are shipped from Holland and quite a number of Swedish trade to Malaysia is channeled through Singapore. And a single large project can create a temporary jump in trade numbers. But of course we can get better and improve, ”says Bruno Beijer.
     On average a new Swedish company per month is established in Malaysia.
     The newcomers represent all sectors of Swedish industry, from services to manufacturing and quite many are small and medium sized.
     Any particular areas today with great potential for Sweden in Malaysia?
     ”I see big opportunities for IT, biotechnology and environment companies in Malaysia and Sweden has a good name here in these sectors.”
     Any outcome so far from the roadshow?
     ”It is too early to say. Usually the results come after some time. But we bring with us a number of assignments to investigate market opportunities for Swedish companies.”
     No high level Swedish visits to Malaysia, or vice versa, that could further boost trade are currently scheduled.
     ”Malaysia just had general elections and has a new government and Prime Minister. It will take some time until they have settled in. But I expect ministers from both sides to make visits later on.”

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