04 Feb 2016 16:29 IST

After a three-year lull, Sweden expects trade with India to grow in 2016

Access to skilled labour, proximity to market and good infrastructure reasons for investing in Karnataka: envoy

After a lull in bilateral trade with India from 2011 to 2013, Sweden witnessed an upturn in trade with India in 2015 and expects its trade prospects to be much better in 2016.

During the first nine months of calendar 2015, Swedish exports of goods to India grew 7 per cent over the same period in 2014, while India’s exports to Sweden increased 11 per cent. Bilateral trade between Sweden and India amounted to more than $2 billion in 2014 with exports of goods from Sweden accounting for two thirds of that amount. Speaking to Business Line on the sidelines of Invest Karnataka 2016, Harald Sandberg, Ambassador of Sweden to India, pointed out “Trade between Sweden and India tapered off from 2011 to 2013 which is reflective of what was happening globally. We saw an upturn in trade with India in 2015 and expect to do better in 2016 provided the domestic climate here and the global economy doesn’t throw up any surprises.” Pointing out that India is home to 160 Swedish companies in three clusters across Maharashtra, Delhi-NCR and Karnataka, Sandberg said, “these companies employ 1,60,000 people of which over 30,000 are in Karnataka and provide indirect employment to 1.1 million people. While these companies continue to invest here, their number one priority is for GST (Goods and Services Tax) to be rolled out. GST would simplify the logistics/bureaucratic procedures that are bogging them down.”

ABB, Astra Zeneca, Atlas Copco, Volvo, Ericsson, Sandvik, Scania, SKF, Tetra Pak are some of the large Swedish multinational companies who have invested in manufacturing, research and development in India. Furniture company IKEA and fashion brand H&M are among the first companies to be approved as foreign investor under the new Single Brand Retail legislation.

Sixteen per cent of the Swedish companies have their head office in Karnataka, 38 per cent have invested here in 2015, 39 per cent are engaged in R&D and product development and 23 per cent in manufacturing in the State. Access to skilled labour, proximity to market and good infrastructure are the reasons for investing in Karnataka.

Sweden gave out 15,000 visas to Indians last year to visit Sweden, an increase of 15 per cent year-on-year and issued 6,000 stay and work permits to Indians including tourists and business travellers. “Indians constitute the largest non-European student community in Sweden, surpassing China. Many of them are enrolled in engineering courses and other Masters and above courses” said Sandberg.

Recommended for you