Peter Dahlen

Managing Director, AmCham Sweden

In 1783, when the United States was a newly formed nation, Sweden was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of the new republic. Since then, the two countries have continued to cultivate their strong bilateral relationship. The United States is Sweden’s fourth-largest export trade partner, and second-largest export destination outside of the European Union, with exports valued at an estimated $10.2 billion.

Foreign Direct Investment between the two remains high; Sweden is one of the largest investors in the U.S. on a per capita basis, with roughly $54 billion going towards FDI in the U.S. Over 210,000 jobs have been directly created in the U.S. from Swedish majority-owned affiliates. Today, Swedish companies such as IKEA, Volvo, and H&M are as prevalent in the U.S. as ‘fika’ is in Sweden.

Conversely, the U.S. invests around $35 billion in Sweden annually. Much of U.S. investment goes into the Swedish start-up sector, which is flourishing at a rapid pace and has led to international successes such as Spotify, Skype, and Klarna. According to the 2017 Swedish Tech Funding Report, U.S. investment made up 23% of all foreign participation, topped only by the U.K. Significantly, this does not include the regular acquisitions of start-ups by American companies such as Facebook and Amazon. At the end of 2018, Microsoft purchased 130 hectares of land north of Stockholm in a major international investment of over $29 million, signaling future development in the Nordics by the multinational tech giant.

As a trade partner to the U.S., Sweden offers significant benefits; consistently ranked as one of the best countries in the world for business and trade, Sweden is also the hub of the Scandinavian region, with shipping access to most of Northern and Eastern Europe in under a day. Among the Forbes Global 2000 companies with regional headquarters in the Nordics, 64% operate out of Sweden, and half are based in the capital city Stockholm.

This close trade partnership between the two countries has strengthened over the years and brought economic and cultural payoffs since that first gesture of friendship in 1783. The opportunities for growth and mutual investment are considerable, and both Sweden and the U.S. have embraced them as evidenced by the robust economic ties our two nations enjoy.