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Special Correspondent, The Hindu / CHENNAI, August 10, 2011.
Lars-Olof Lindgren, Ambassador of Sweden to India, flanked by Arun Vasu, Consul-General of the Consulate of Sweden, Chennai (left), and T.T. Ashok, chairman, CII Southern Region, and Managing Director, Taylor Rubber Pvt.Ltd., at a press conference in Chennai on Tuesday. Photo: M. Vedhan - The Hindu.
Sweden is keen on expanding its business and investment legacy in India as it explores symbiotic trade ties across a range of sectors, Ambassador of Sweden to India Lars-Olof Lindgren said on Tuesday.
Addressing reporters after a luncheon meet hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) -Southern Region, Mr. Lindgren said the one thing that he emphasises at meetings with the Indian business class, politicians, and bureaucrats, is that although Sweden and India are different in many aspects, there is great potential for both countries to do more together for mutual benefit.
The disconnect between the potential and the actual is reflected in the fact that though bilateral trade ties go back by over a century, Swedish exports to India constitute barely 1 per cent of its international trade. This fact was put up in starker relief when Sweden managed to tide over the global financial crisis, only to be caught up in a secondary crisis as low demand across Europe choked its export mainstay.
“We realise that our export composition is far from ideal,” Mr. Lindgren said.
Since the recession, Sweden has been able to bounce back, and last year the economy registered a 5.5 per cent growth average, which, “in the European context, is quite remarkable.”
Sweden is keen to build on its investment legacy in India, especially in the South. At present, India is Sweden's third largest trading partner after China and Japan in Asia, while Sweden is the 12th largest FDI investor in India.
“If we can find ways of stimulating Swedish companies to look at south India as a trade and investment destination, I'm all for it,” he said.
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