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Last updated : Nov 2009
Sweden Business
Sweden Business Overview -
Sweden Economy

Sweden is 1 of Europe’s most advanced industrial economies and has 1 of the highest standards of social welfare in the world. It also boasts a relatively large number of world class multinational companies (Volvo, Ericsson).

A prolonged period of peace, which included a policy of neutrality during both World Wars, has donated much to its economic development. Over half of Sweden is covered by forest, supplying raw material for the wood based industries, wood pulp, paper, and finished products such as furniture, which account for 20 per cent of Swedish material exports.

Most of Sweden’s agriculture is concentrated in the south and central regions and produces vegetables, meat, dairy products and cereals. The agricultural and fisheries sector is, however, fairly insignificant today, accounting for just 2 per cent of Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

The country has a strong industrial sector which produces a number of major exports including office and telecommunications equipment, vehicles, wood products, iron and steel and chemicals. Sweden is rich in mineral resources, which include 15 per cent of the world’s known uranium deposits and large deposits of iron ore, zinc, copper and lead.

Lacking fossil fuel deposits, Sweden has large nuclear power and hydroelectric programmes, which meet over 80 percent of its energy requirements.

Sweden was a long term member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which linked most Western European economies outside the European Union, before it ultimately joined the EU in 1995. However there is a strong Euro sceptic current, and so far the Swedes have refused to join the Euro zone, most recently at a national referendum in September 2003 (despite the support of the national government).

Domestic economic policy has been largely concerned with making the labour market more flexible and with addressing Sweden’s bulky government debt . The economy was in recession between 1999 and 2002, but is now slowly improving.

Current annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is 1.6 percent, and this is expected to increase during the next 2 years. Both unemployment and inflation (2.2 and 4 per cent respectively) are close to the EU average. Sweden’s main bilateral trading partners are the UK, Germany, Denmark, Norway and the USA.


In Sweden, business people are expected to dress smartly. English is broadly spoken in business circles. Punctuality is essential for social and business occasions and business cards are frequently used.

Working hours are flexible, with lunch from 12.00 am to 1.00 pm.

Commercial Information

The following association can offer advice:

Stockholm Chamber of Commerce

Address: Box 16050, 10321 Stockholm

Telephone: (8) 5551 0000

Facsimile: (8) 5663 1600


Website address:

There are also chambers of commerce for other key towns and regions in Sweden.


The main venues are in Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council also lists 2 in Lapland.

The Globe Arena in Stockholm can cater for up to 5,000 persons, there are also other venues in the city that can seat up to 3,000 persons. Elsewhere in Sweden, most venues have facilities for 200 to 500 persons (although Gothenburg and Malmö have capacity for 1,500).

For more information contact:

Stockholm Visitors Board

Address: PO Box 16282, SE-103 25 Stockholm

Telephone: (8) 508 28500

Facsimile: (8) 508 28510


Website address:

Gothenburg Convention Bureau

Address: Mässans Gata 8, SE-412 51 Gothenburg

Telephone: (31) 615 200

Facsimile: (31) 811 048


Website address:

Malmö Congress Bureau

Address: Centralstationen, SE-21120 Malmö

Telephone: (40) 342 204

Facsimile: (40) 342 211


Website address:

Or contact the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council for more information (see Contacts section).