Sweden to send in business delegation


    COUNT Sweden out of the anxiety surrounding President Rodrigo Duterte’s foreign policy pivot — Stockholm is set to send in its largest delegation of businessmen raring to do business in the Philippines.

    And there’s more: Sweden is also set to reopen its embassy in Manila after shutting it down in 2008 because of budget cuts, recognizing the importance of trade with the Philippines which has become one of the region’s fastest-growing economies.

    SWEDEN KNOCKS With the success of Swedish brands such as clothing retailer H&M in the Philippine market, others like home accessories and furniture chain Ikea and Volvo Buses are not far behind, said Harald Fries (right), Sweden’s ambassadordesignate, in a roundtable discussion with The Manila Times editorial team on Tuesday. PHOTO BY ROGER RAÑADA

    SWEDEN KNOCKS With the success of Swedish brands such as clothing retailer H&M in the Philippine market, others like home accessories and furniture chain Ikea and Volvo Buses are not far behind, said Harald Fries (right), Sweden’s ambassadordesignate, in a roundtable discussion with The Manila Times editorial team on Tuesday. PHOTO BY ROGER RAÑADA

    With the success of Swedish brands such as clothing retailer H&M in the Philippine mass market, others like home accessories and furniture chain Ikea and Volvo Buses are not far behind, said Harald Fries, Sweden’s ambassador-designate, in a roundtable discussion with The Manila Times editorial team on Tuesday.

    No Swedish company has become hesitant to do business in the Philippines despite the controversy over the President’s foreign policy stance, he said.

    “Actually, there are more and more companies signing up,” Fries said.

    One of the Swedish businesses about to move in is the defense contractor Saab Group, which is scheduled to inaugurate its office at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City on November 9.

    It is reportedly in pole position to secure a deal to sell its JAS 39 Gripen fighter aircraft to the Philippine Air Force.
    Other companies have expressed interest in infrastructure, energy, and disaster response and relief.

    “The concern [about the Philippines]is there but more specifically on the human rights situation, and I haven’t heard from the business sector that this translates into [loss of interest in]doing business,” Fries said.

    Swedish businessmen “know the fundamentals here” and the noise about the Philippines will not affect their business or investment plans, he said.

    “When I read the papers here, some chambers of commerce have expressed that if this continues, it could have an effect on business interest. But I haven’t seen it in my conversation with [Swedish] companies,” the Swedish diplomat said.

    Biggest-ever delegation

    Next month, Sweden’s biggest-ever business delegation to Manila, led by Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Innovation Mikael Damberg, will be in the Philippines. The visit will coincide with the reopening of the Swedish Embassy in Taguig.

    Fries said the delegation will include Atlas Copco, Ericsson, Scania Group, SEB, Swedish Match and Volvo Buses. Their mission is to promote trade and investment exchange with the Philippines, he said.

    The Swedish Embassy in Manila, which was closed in 2008 because of severe budget cuts following the global financial crisis, will be reopened on November 8 to strengthen trade and investment promotion and policy dialogue, Fries said.

    “We recognize the favorable economic development [in this country]and we saw a lot of potential in increasing trade and investment and person-to-person, tourism and academic exchanges,” said Fries.

    The number of Swedish tourists to the Philippines jumped by 73 percent to 23,000 between 2009 and 2015, he noted.

    Swedish tourists love Philippine beaches, Fries said, and the tourist volume could expand further if the quality of tourism infrastructure improves.

    Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said the Philippine government welcomes the return of the Swedish Embassy.

    “It will be a big opportunity for the two countries to improve bilateral relations in different areas of cooperation,” he told The Manila Times.


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    1. Happy to know that swedish embassy will reopen in the ??. Thank you Sweden! and welcome and mabuhay philippines

    2. Those of us Swedes that have been to the Philippines ( writer included ) LOVES it. Not for upscale resorts or modern facilities of luxury the any destination these days can offer. We appreciate combination of natural beauty, simplicity and the warmhearted smiles that meet us wherever we go. Those smiles can’t be measured in money. Its a huge change coming from a hectic stiff stressful European lifestyle.
      From the far to commercialised more known destination for us as to date, Thailand, i firmly belive the time for Philippines is now. Just do not become another Thailand…
      I like to focus on similarities rather then what sets apart. I find some similarities striking in the mindset of both our countries. Those has given Sweden a favourable position in a highly competitive world. With nothing radical given us Swedes a free advantage, natural resources like oil, gas etc. We always manage to stay ahead and on top by innovation, with the confidence to follow through. All seeds started by the individual or the exchange of ideas by creative individuals and bloomed out. It has become our trademark and lead to that we, to our relative small size population have some of the highest density of high-tech companies and other transnational success stories in the world in modern times. Our strength is the solid foundation, the many legs we stand on built up by a society of tolerance. We observe with curiosity whats going on and take lead for whats next. Not copying or buying up ideas like some, we create, refine and export them. That open and curious and innovative mind is also YOUR great advantage to use with confidence.
      Philippines has been a bit to much in the shadow of other cultural influences for to long, that should stop, like your president been stating.
      In Philippines, to American admiration i guess, i can’t avoid notice that your nationalsport more or less is basketball. Any outsider would see it as misplaced, a very tall mans game ( not to take away the joy/ beauty of the sport ). If as many filipinos would been seriously into, say soccer, or any sport that falls more natural, how many world rank players would not have come out from there? That idea would apply in many other fields as well.
      I hope our countries relations will strengthen, all levels. The similarities ties the knots. We might be small in the world to the giants, but that do not mean a thing to hold our own. We Swedes and so many other nations can learn from you. As a generalisation of a nation you are the BEST friendliest and WARMEST human beings on this planet. Cherish that, and hold it dare, because that hospitality it is what makes Philipphines UNIQUE.
      God bless.
      / Martin, Stockholm, Sweden.

    3. Wow! Am waiting for this, I love Swedish products particularly IKEA a leading furniture manufacturer. I like very much its remarkable designs & its materials used. The Gripen fighters jet I used to know in Military magazines like Jane. Volvo buses & SAAB cars are no. 1 in durability for me. Welcome Sweden. It’s good to have you back in the Philippines.

    4. OMG IKEA!!! Surely it will be a hit in the Philippines! Majority of OFWs and Expats around the world shops in IKEA and brings home products bought in IKEA!

    5. YESS!! Foreign investments create jobs for the miliions of Filipino job seekers. Especially those who are college graduates, they dont have to work overseas but right here in their own country, family and supporting others. It will also create outsource agencies. Our natural resources will be protected with incoming amendment of our laws…..so be POSITIVE!!!

    6. Edgardo M Garcia on

      I will now repair and rehab my Volvo 850 sedan 1996 model and flaunt it around Metro Manila as reminder that RP and Sweden are back into each others arms.Welcome Swedish people and enjoy the tan that our warm weather and beaches would paint on your skin.MABUHAY.RP .MABUHAY SWEDEN

    7. Hay naku! Si Pres. Duterte na naman ang may kasalanan nito! Kung bakit kase binoto-boto nyo pang ang isang katulad nya na walang ginawa kundi magtrabaho ayan tuloy dumadami ang investment sa Pilipinas. Baka mamaya umunlad pa ang bansa natin nyan! Next time ang iboto nyo yung tamad at abnoy para aasa lang tayo ng aasa sa donasyon ng Amerika.

    8. The yellow senators will create an investigation committee as to why Sweden is sending large number of businessmen delegation to Philippines…..lol

      • that plan was never a spur of the moment decision, but by continuing with despite the attacks from the yellowtards is what is more telling..that haters gonna hate and their negativism were not bought by the business sectors.

    9. yellowtards and its yellow politicians will diffidently cry on this report…..cause they only want to just ask and beg for aids….

      • That’s the difference between Dutertards and those who really know. Now everyone wants the piece of the pie. You dont realize it that no one benefits under foreign investment except the foreign companies. Have you seen our salary increase? This is at the expense of what. Now, expect our natural resources like beach, lands, etc to be turned into development resort or businesses to cater. Majority of filipinos cannot afford them anyway. DU30 has the right mindset but the same shit like previous administration. In fact, he might be even worst because demise of our resources will be faster under him. If this is all successful, you will be crying in 10 years complaining how life used to be so easy but now you have loan everything and pay for it with your life working for the next 40 years…

      • I doubt that, more investment, means more jobs to be open for the locals to fill in. It will generate revenue for the stakeholders to re-invest again and will also help the pinoy workers to have a better standard of living. More workers earning decent salary will translate to better purchasing power thus making the economy stronger. Tamad lng na pilipino ang naiiwan. Ikaw tamad ka ba at lagi nalang umaasa?

    10. This is so far the best business news I’ve heard. The Philippines should procure its defense weapons from Sweden where hopefully the US master-control freak will have no influence in dissuading Sweden from selling arms to RP. The US has always been reluctant to help our country become militarily self-reliant so that we perpetually depend on the US and it can continue to extract concessions and exercise power over us. To hell with America.

      • good one bro! From Sweden here, good to know that the Swedes will push through the bizness and on the hand, we are going to have the PH embassy back here in Stockholm..so its a good news for everybody hehehe

      • You are right They are evil. They are war freak and too invasive. What right they got to control our government and treat us as their puppet? To hell with them.

      • Hopefully Saab has learned from its Thailand experience where there was attempted blocking of Gripen exports through its components. Good news now that we can get missiles from Korea and Israel, and I think Saab makes missiles as well? Now just need those jet engines and other essential components. I’m hoping Saab can be open with putting a good engine without export control on the Gripen. It’ll be funny if it’ll be a Korean engine borrowed from the FA-50.

    11. wow! testament that what the US, the oligarchs, corrupt politicians, US-lapdog politicians and the elite are saying are simply disinformation and that the move to be independent (from the US) is the right move. how good is this?