The UK is ready and open for business
– and we are here to help
We at the British Embassy in Stockholm and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce (SCC) in London are delighted to be working together to support Swedish business via our Sweden, UK, the World campaign.
What an interesting time it is to work with bilateral and business relations. Never a dull day. The last few years have been defined by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, both of which have created uncertainty, consequences and constraints to our everyday life. And it would be wrong not to acknowledge these factors as inhibitors to the growth and development of trade and investment. As we know, business does not like uncertainly and requires stable environments to grow. That said, what we have seen is that our bilateral trading relationship appears to be holding strong. Despite the challenges, we continue to see opportunities to work together, forge new partnerships and strengthen the ties between our two countries. This is encouraging.
We are often asked whether trade and investment have been greatly impacted as a result of Brexit and the pandemic? The answer: There have been some issues, in areas like movement of people, customs clearance delays and increased administration. These were not unexpected, and we have been working across governments, with authorities and industry bodies to mitigate these where possible. This work will continue. However, in the past year we have seen considerable Swedish investment to the UK. Sweden is the UK’s 9th largest investor, between Japan (8th) and China (10th). Swedish business continues to see the UK market as one of opportunity.
It is worth reminding ourselves that there are over 1,000 Swedish businesses operating in the UK, with the top 10 Swedish employers accounting for over 55,000 jobs – a sizeable footprint from a country with a population of 10 million. Added to this, the recent Global Business Climate Survey (conducted in the UK by Business Sweden, the Swedish Embassy and the SCC) showed a positive outlook for Swedish-British business. 1,400 businesses were surveyed across Sweden’s 22 key markets, where 26% of Swedish companies replying from the UK reported that they will significantly increase investment. This is of course great news.
So, why choose the UK?
The UK has a high spending consumer market and an open, liberal economy, where there is access to world-class talent and a business friendly regulatory environment. It also benefits from a unique position with regard to language, its renowned legal system, access to funding, and limited red tape. And it is not far from home. This makes the UK one of the easiest markets to set-up, scale and grow a business.
Investors can access a market of over 60 million people, diverse suppliers and partners, together with a range of programmes to support business. Announcements in 2021 by the British government to build back stronger include a £100bn infrastructure commitment, in addition to the £7bn earmarked for Research and Innovation projects. There are clear opportunities and appetite to ensure that the UK is at the cutting-edge of global development.
We know investors are looking at industries of the future that will support sustainable economic growth and recovery, whether that be technology, clean growth, life sciences or advanced manufacturing – and that is where the UK wishes to grow and excel.
So, to potential and current investors: the UK is ready and open for business and we are here to help.
Director DIT Sweden
Department for International Trade
Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK
Key sectors and opportunities for Swedish business
Clean growth & Smart City technology
Electricity generation in the UK was the greenest on record in 2020, according to the National Grid Electricity Systems Operator (ESO). The average carbon intensity over the year fell to 181g of CO₂ per kilowatt hour (gCO₂/kWh), a reduction of 66% over the last seven years.
Healthtech & medtech
The UK has unrivalled expertise in delivering the most modern models of care in the world’s oldest and largest universal healthcare system, and is a genuine global leader in digital health innovation, allowing for regulation and validation at scale. The UK is a forward-thinking country and a top three global life sciences hub with a track record of scientific breakthroughs spanning decades. A working partnership approach between industry sectors and government is fueling billions of pounds of funding to deliver the next generation of life changing treatments and technologies.
Tech: Fintech & games development
The United Kingdom has advanced infrastructure and both social and financial capital, making it one of the leading locations in the world for tech companies. This is underpinned by effective support measures for research and development and generous schemes for investors.
In June 2019, the UK government amended the Climate Change Act (2008) and set a new target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This made the UK the first major economy in the world to legislate for Net Zero. An important aspect to achieve this target is the creation of ambitious actions, as well as innovative technologies within relevant industries. The automotive industry is of particular importance in reaching this target and the UK government’s commitment to support low carbon innovation within this industry provides opportunities for Swedish companies offering solutions for the Electric Vehicles (EV) sector; including EV manufacturing, charging infrastructure and battery/energy storage.