Swedish minister signs sustainable business MoU in China

On Wednesday 9 September 2015 Sweden’s Minister of Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on sustainable business between Sweden and China, as he visited Beijing.

Minister Mikael Damberg and Irena Busic, CEO of The Swedish Chamber of Commerce in China. Photo: Embassy of Sweden

This MoU intends to deepen the two countries’ cooperation on sustainable enterprise, according to the Swedish minister.

The agreement is part of the government’s raised ambition in this area. Ultimately it is about increasing understanding of sustainability issues between Swedish and Chinese companies, said Mikael Damberg.

Sweden has a unique collaboration with China on sustainable business conduct and since 2007 an agreement on CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). The CSR Center at the Embassy of Sweden in Beijing is a platform for information-oriented activities and training where hundreds of key persons linked to Chinese government agencies, state-owned companies, industrial associations and local- and regional administrations have already participated.

The government decided this summer to provide additional resources of 3 million SEK for the Centre to continue its work.

Ultimately, it’s about being able to increase understanding between Swedish and Chinese companies on sustainability, to facilitate and promote Swedish business opportunities in the Chinese market and trade between the countries.

Minister Mikael Damberg. Photo: Embassy of Sweden

The new MoU, signed on China’s side by Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen expand this cooperation on CSR with issues like procurement, waste and water management, human rights, entrepreneurship, transparency and responsible investments.

“Sustainable and responsible business is all about trying to help Swedish companies to remain at the forefront, being innovative, modern, competitive and attractive for their employees, consumers and investors. It is something that I and the government will continue to work for,” he wrote in a press release.

“Through the government’s focus on sustainable business in China export will increase and more jobs will be created in Sweden. It also helps to create a sustainable global development. Despite some turbulence, China remains important for Swedish trade and Swedish exports, and will continue to be so in future.”

“China is the largest trading partner in Asia and one of the markets that the government attaches a high priority in trade promotion. There are around 500 Swedish companies active on site, a figure that is increasing, while more than 10 000 Swedish companies  deal with China. Sweden’s total trade with China last year totalled nearly 90 billion SEK.”

“At the same time, we see that the Chinese economy is slowing down. It is worrying for Sweden and for the entire world economy, given the importance of China’s growth has on the rest of the world. Although the slowdown in China will be soft Sweden will be affected. We will feel the consequences of that Chinese demand for Swedish products decreases and also indirectly due to that several of our major trading partners will see lower economic growth due to China’s lower demand.”

The Swedish government is due to announce its export strategy soon that intends to strengthen Swedish companies’ exports and internationalization opportunities in key growth markets such as China. The goal of the strategy is to contribute to increased exports; increasing the number of exporting companies; increased investment attractiveness, competence and tourists as well as increased participation of Swedish companies in the global economy.

In addition Mikael Damberg signed another MoU on sustainable mining, together with Minister Jiang Daming, Ministry of Land and Natural Resources.

Minister Damberg also visited during the day even Swedish Chamber of Commerce and met with representatives of the Swedish business community in China.

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