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flag Sweden Sweden: Selling and Buying

In this page: Market Access Procedures | Reaching the Consumers | Distributing a Product | Organizing Goods Transport | Identifying a Supplier


Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party to the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls For Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2001
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of the European Union
Member of the European Economic Area
which guarantees, since 1 January 1993, the free movement of most goods between European countries.
Multilateral agreements and bilateral agreements with many countries.
Non Tariff Barriers
As it is a member of the European Union, Sweden applies the Community regulations which are valid throughout the Union. If the EU has quite a liberal foreign trade policy, there are a certain number of restrictions, especially at the level of agricultural products, ensuing from the implementation of the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy): applying compensations when importing and exporting agricultural products to favor the development of agriculture within the EU implies a certain number of systems to control and regulate goods entering EU territory.
Moreover, for sanitary reasons, as regards the presence of Genetically Modified Organisms, if they are allowed in Europe, their presence must, for example, be systematically specified on packaging. It is also prohibited to import beef fed on hormones. The BSE crisis (called "mad cow disease") has encouraged the European authorities to reinforce phytosanitary measures to ensure the quality of meat entering and circulating in EU countries. The principle of precaution is now more widely favored: in case of doubt, import is prohibited until the non- noxiousness of the goods is proved.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
Transactions carried out within the EEA are exempt from duties.
The Common Customs Tariff (CCT) of the European Union is applied to goods from outside the EU. In general, duties are not very high, especially for industrial products (4.2% on average).

Customs Classification
The European Community (EC) Combined Nomenclature integrates the Harmonized System Nomenclature and comprises supplementary subdivisions with eight digits and its own legal terms created for Community purposes.
Import Procedures
When goods are imported into Sweden, it is the responsibility of the importer or his agent to make the Customs declaration. The SAD (single administrative document) is used for this. The document may be presented in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, English or German. An invoice must be presented with the SAD duly filled out.

As part of the "SAFE" standards advocated by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union has set up a new system of import controls, the "Import Control System" (ICS), which aims to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system, part of the Community Program eCustomer, has been in effect since January 1, 2011. Since then, operators are required to pass an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.
Importing Samples
For importing, exporting and re-exporting commercial samples, the ATA carnet may be used.
For Further Information
Ministry of Finance

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Reaching the Consumers

Marketing Opportunities

Consumer Behavior
The determining factor for Swedish consumers is price, followed by quality. It is very important for them to obtain information before buying something, especially as regards consumer durables. Other major factors when choosing are value for money, the salesperson's know-how, and after sales services. When buying furniture and household appliances, the deciding factors are the range of choice, price and the transparency of the offer. Swedish people are loyal to brands and to shops. A large proportion of the population is connected to Internet, and it is used frequently to obtain information as well as to make a purchase.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
On average, Swedish consumers have resources and purchasing power well above that of most other European consumers. They are used to a higher standard of living than in most other European countries and have high expectations. Swedish consumers are spending more and more.
Consumers Associations
Ombudsman , The Swedish Consumer Agency
Sverigeskonsumenter , The Swedish Consumers' Association
Konsumentsamverkan , The Swedish Consumer Coalition
Main Advertising Agencies
Main advertising agencies in Sweden
All advertising agencies in Sweden
General information about the media in Sweden

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
The total retail sales increased by 3.7%t in 2009 to 602 billion SEK (60 billion EUR).

Generally speaking, Sweden has followed the same pattern of evolution as other Western countries over the last 20 years, i.e. the appearance of huge shopping malls located on the outskirts of towns, whose growth is to the detriment of the retailers situated in the city center. Distribution remains very structured and dominated by a few large groups, but there are a large number of specialized retailers offering more top of the range goods. The Swedish market often serves as a bridgehead for reaching the Scandinavian markets and the Baltic countries. Many European companies are present in this competitive market.
Market Shares
Swedish distribution of consumer goods is very structured even though there is still a large number of specialized retailers. Food distribution, for example, is concentrated around 3 groups:
- Ica Sveridge AB ( Ahold group) 1883 outlets.
Axfood AB, 883 outlets, it is specialized in "soft discount", i.e. very large discount stores.
Coop Sveridge AB(KF), 879 outlets, it is losing market share.
But a new group has appeared, the Bergendalhs group, 139 outlets.

The non-food sector is dominated by Swedish groups mainly (H&M in clothing or Ikea in furniture). However, new foreign brands are setting up progressively in Sweden (Mango, Zara in clothing).
Organizations in the Retail Sector
Svensk Handel (Swedish Trade Federation)

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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
Distribution of domestic goods transport: road 64% (39.9 billion t/km), train 36% (22.3 billion t/km). Sea transport is vital for Sweden with its 2,700 km of coastline and its many islands. Almost all international transactions are carried out by sea as well as half of domestic trade.
Port of Stockholm
Port of Göteborg
Port of Trelleborg
All Swedish ports
Stockholm Arlanda International Airport
Gothenburg City Airport
Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport (en anglais)
Malmö Airport
List of Swedish airports
Sea Transport Organizations
Swedish Maritime Administration (Sjofartsverket)
Air Transport Organizations
Swedish Civil Aviation Administration
Road Transport Organizations
Swedish Road Administration (Vägverket)
Rail Transport Organizations
Ministry of transport and communication
Swedish Rail Administration (Banverket)

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
The industrial sector is well developed. Since 1994, industrial production in Sweden has risen by 70%. The industrial sector contributes 28.1% to GDP. It is characterized by groups such as Volvo, Saab, Ericsson, ABB, AstraZeneca, Electrolux, Ikea, H&M, etc. Sweden's main manufacturing activities are processing wood, paper, electronic equipment, industrial food preparation, pharmaceutical products, etc. The new sectors of technologies and biotechnologies are significantly important in the economy.

Business Directories

Multi-sector Directories
Agenturforetagen - Database of Swedish agents, distributors and importers provided by the Swedish Association of Agents.
Agenturforetagen Members - Database for agents and distributors.
Swedish Wine Importers - Listings provided by the Nordic Wine Institute.
Gula Sidorna - Find a business in Sweden.
Largest Companies - Database of the largest Nordic companies.
Nordicnet - Industry's trade engine for the Nordic countries. - Directory of companies in Sweden.
Manufacturers Associations of the Main Industries
42 professional associations listed for Sweden.
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Swedish Chamber of Commerce
Swedish Trade Council (Exportrådet)
Enterprises Federation
Confederation of Swedish Enterprise
Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (NUTEK)

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Last Updates: October 2014