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Doing business

Current business situation

Economic growth in Sweden is gaining speed ahead of many European peers, helped by buoyant household consumption and supportive macroeconomic policies. Inflation is low, reflecting global commodity price trends and a still strong krona. Domestically, lower imported energy prices and moderate nominal wage growth along with strong productivity gains have reduced cost pressures. (Source: IMF Country Report No. 14/261, Sweden, August 2014)

Business culture

Generally speaking business culture in Sweden is similar to that in Australia. There are differences and the following will assist in developing good relationships, which include:

  • It is advisable to seek appointments well in advance of your visit.
  • Punctuality is required both for business and social appointments.
  • General greetings are by handshake, stating clearly both your first name and surname.
  • It is customary to offer your business card at the commencement of a meeting.
  • Decision-making is frequently by consensus, on the spot decisions are rare.
  • The annual vacation period occurs from late June to beginning of August, appointments will be difficult to arrange and applies to the Christmas and New Year period.

Setting up in Market

Sweden’s trade and investment body has establishment guides for those considering setting up a business.

Banking and finance

In December 2013, Sweden had a total of 118 banks and the financial sector is one of the most important growth industries. The four largest banks, account for 75 per cent of the total market:

  • Swedbank
  • Handelsbanken
  • Nordea
  • SEB.

(Source: Swedish Bankers’ Associaton)

Links and resources

Government, business and trade

Business Sweden
The official site of Sweden
The National Board of Trade
Swedish Customs
Swedish Parliament

News and media

Dagens Nyheter (Swedish only)
Svenska Dagbladet (Swedish only)
Dagens Industri (Swedish only)
Scandinavia Now
The Local

Please note: this list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only.

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European Union VAT changes

From 1 January 2015, there will be changes to the way Value Added Tax (VAT) is charged in the European Union (EU).


OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

Multinational Enterprises should be aware of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises that provide voluntary principles and standards for responsible business behaviour in a variety of areas, consistent with applicable domestic laws. These Guidelines are endorsed and promoted by the Australian Government. For more information, go to the AusNCP website.

  • International Readiness Indicator


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