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Inversió estrangera directa (IED) a Suècia

FDI in Figures

According to UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2021, FDI inflows increased 158% in 2020, reaching USD 26 billion, up from USD 10 billion in 2019, despite the economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic that caused a contraction of 42% to global foreign direct investments. This increase is partly the result of U.S. MNEs injecting loans into their affiliates in the country. The stock of FDI was about USD 409 billion in 2020. Sweden is the tenth-largest recipient of FDI but also the eleventh-largest investor worldwide. FDI outflows from the country reached USD 31 billion in 2020, compared to USD 16 billion in 2019. In terms of FDI stocks, the Netherlands, the UK, Luxembourg, Germany and Norway are the largest investors in Sweden. The manufacturing sector maintained its status as the backbone of foreign investment, followed by financial and insurance activities, wholesale and retail trade and the energy sector. According to the latest figures from OECD, in the first semester of 2021 FDI inflows to Sweden reached USD 17.5 billion, down by 22.1% compared to the same period one year earlier.

Despite the unfavourable international situation, the country maintains a high level of appeal to foreign investors, because of its multilingual and qualified workforce, very high per capita purchasing power, an economy at the forefront of new technologies and innovation, as well as its advantageous tax regime. The Swedish government has undertaken measures to develop support for investment, focusing on key sectors (biotechnologies and food processing), as well as rapidly growing markets (Baltic countries, India, Brazil, etc.). There are gaps in the food-processing field, as well as in the housing and interior design sectors. The government assigned the Inspectorate of Strategic Products (ISP) and the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) with the monitoring of FDI in sensitive areas. Sweden is one of the few EU Member States that did not yet introduce FDI screening rules. However, in November 2021, proposed legislation was presented, which is expected to be approved over the course of 2022. As evidence of the quality of the Swedish business climate, the country ranks high on most international investment lists, including World Bank's latest Doing Business report (10th out of 190, two spots higher on the year), the AT Kearney 2021 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index (14th worldwide) and the Global Innovation Index 2021 (2nd worldwide, the country has been in the top 3 for over a decade).

Foreign Direct Investment 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 9,10818,80326,973
FDI Stock (million USD) 347,405414,519386,569
Number of Greenfield Investments* 859294
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 1,8372,1742,814

Source: UNCTAD, Latest available data

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors Sweden OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 8.0 6.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 4.0 5.3 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 7.0 7.3 9.0 5.0

Source: Doing Business, Latest available data

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.

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What to consider if you invest in Sweden

Strong Points
Advantages for FDI in Sweden:

  • The political and economic situation is very favourable and creates a good quality business environment. 
  • According to the World Bank, Sweden is the 10th country in terms of ease of doing business (Doing Business 2020).
  • Corporates taxes are among the lowest in Europe: The country applies participation exemption, authorises a total tax deduction for interest and has no strict capitalisation rules. 
  • The economy is open, diversified (specialised in high-potential sectors such as high-tech products and sustainable economy) and extremely competitive. 
  • Demographics are becoming increasingly dynamic and are fuelling a highly qualified workforce adapted to export trades. 
  • The judicial system is balanced and allows for safe, transparent and reliable decisions. 
  • The quality of management and advisory services is very high, and the business procedures are simple to undertake. 
  • The potential of the domestic market is often underestimated, as Swedish consumers have one of the highest levels of purchasing power in Europe and a growing propensity to consume. 

For more information, visit the Business Sweden website.

Weak Points

Disadvantages for FDI include:

  • High labour costs
  • Rigid labour legislation giving priority to worker protection
  • High household debt (201% of net disposable income)
  • Tensions in the housing market
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
Since entering the European Union, the Swedish government has put in place a number of reforms to improve the legal business environment. This allowed the country to attract foreign investors and increase its competitiveness.
There are a number of incentives available to both Swedish and foreign owned companies, including:

  • Financial incentives (such as loans and grants).
  • Favourable tax regimes (such as tax relief for foreign experts and key personnel).

The Swedish government offers certain incentives to set up a business in targeted depressed areas. A range of regional support programs, including location and employment grants, low rent industrial parks, and economic free zones are available.

Sweden does not have a national security screening mechanism for inbound foreign investment.  However, the government is considering how to implement the EU Commission’s investment screening framework.

Business Sweden is the investment promotion agency tasked with facilitating business.

Bilateral investment conventions signed by Sweden
Sweden has signed over 70 bilateral agreements. To see the list of conventions and countries, click here.

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Actualitzacions: January 2023

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