India is key destination for Swedish firms: ambassador

‘Small, medium enterprises to accelerate engagement’

May 08, 2019 11:53 pm | Updated May 09, 2019 07:20 am IST - HYDERABAD

India is only going to get more important, more interesting as a partner country and an investment destination for Sweden and Swedish firms, according to Swedish Ambassador Klas Molin.

Unlike in the past when primarily large entities dominated the Swedish investments in India, it will be small and medium enterprises that are set to accelerate the engagement ahead on the back of a combination of factors. While the large market in India remained a key attraction for them, the decision is also bound to be influenced by a favourable business climate in the country as well as prospects of shaping innovative products and solutions jointly with Indian firms.

Seeking to highlight this trend during an interaction, the Ambassador said such a shift was already happening. Many of the 100 companies that forayed into India over the last decade are smaller, innovative and start-ups. Number of Swedish companies has doubled to 200 in the last ten years, he said.

Mr. Molin was here for a meeting held as part of the Government of India investments facilitation mechanism with officials of Telangana government and senior executives of Swedish firms. He also attended a India-Sweden Innovations Accelerator-workshop that introduced small Swedish cleantech companies to India through a two-year B2B programme in collaboration with CII.

Josa Karre, Counsellor, Head of Section, Trade, Economic and Cultural Affairs in the Embassy of Sweden, said in Telangana there were more than 25 Swedish companies that together employed 5,000 to 6,000 people. Home furnishing major IKEA, which last year opened its first India store in Hyderabad, alone employed 1,000 people.

“We are encouraging small and medium size companies to do more… get them out of their comfort zone which is Sweden, Scandinavia and sometimes the Baltic countries and the EU internal market,” Mr. Molin said. Aiding their India foray was an innovation partnership India and Sweden forged a few years ago.

Considerable scope

While it was aimed at encouraging companies from both the countries to work together for solutions contributing to a sustainable future, the partnership was also driving interest for collaboration in other areas too. “You are going to see many more companies, but smaller companies and JVs between Swedish and Indian companies,” he said, adding there was considerable scope to grow Indian investments in Sweden too.

A free trade agreement between India and the European Union as well as an investment protection treaty would go a long way in enhancing the bilateral trade, Mr.Molin said.

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