Sweden is a good place to do business but has no unique attributes or conditions that sets it apart from competitors in Europe. Companies are overwhelmingly positive about conditions for their Swedish operations. Still, only a minority of the companies see scope for future growth in Sweden. ISA’s report “Beyond the crisis – How foreign companies view Sweden’s business climate” shows the main results and findings from interviews with 50 senior representatives of foreign corporations present in Sweden.
The report shows that foreign companies appreciate operating in Sweden. Doing business in Sweden is straightforward, in their opinion. The Swedish market works efficiently and the overall business climate has improved in the last decade. However, companies find that the process of removing barriers to enterprise and investment is sometimes painfully slow.
Sweden’s strengths include a well trained and efficient workforce, a proactive climate of cooperation between management and trade unions, and modern infrastructure. The long-standing tradition of industrial expertise and top-quality research is highly valued by foreign companies. There is little bureaucracy and the society runs smoothly.
Sweden’s drawbacks include a small domestic market and geographical distance. Companies express concern over long-term access to skills, particularly specialists and qualified industrial workers. Sweden’s infrastructure is deemed solid, and roads, air transport and IT/telecom receive high marks.
Corporate taxation is seen as competitive, while individual taxes are perceived as unacceptably high. Attitudes to business costs vary widely, though many companies say total salary costs, including social security expenses, are high.
- The report shows that Sweden is a good host country but also that we can make more of our assets. I hope we can convert this insight into doing an even better job for the Swedish business climate. That is how we can ensure future investment in Sweden, says Per-Erik Sandlund, Director-General at ISA.
Invest in Sweden Agency, ISA, is a government agency working to attract investments to Sweden. These may take the form of new establishments, expansion investments, cooperative agreements, strategic alliances and acquisitions. ISA is headquartered in Stockholm and has foreign offices in the USA, Japan, China and India. ISA also cooperates with many public and private entities, both in Sweden and abroad. Visit us at www.isa.se or follow us at www.twitter.com/InvestinSweden