On March 27, 2014 in Gothenburg, representatives from large industries, businesses, incubators, science parks, universities and regional government came together to focus on the importance of trade between Sweden and the United States.
The day began with remarks from Mark Brzezinski, US Ambassador to Sweden and Jonas Hafström, Ambassador and Senior Advisor to the Swedish Minister of Trade.
Hosted by the Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce at the Chalmers Conference Center, approximately 260 people attended Amerikadagen. They heard presentations from government representatives and industry experts, and attended workshops throughout the day to learn more about establishing a business foothold in the American market.
Ambassador Brzezinski spoke about the importance that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have in the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. “SMEs are where the majority of people work, and the majority of new jobs come from SME’s,” Brzezinski stated. “Ninety-nine percent of European and US companies – over 20 million companies in the EU and 28 million in the US are SMEs. In the EU, SMEs provide two-thirds of all private sector jobs and have a tremendous capacity to create new employment.”
Looking at the economic and political environments in countries currently outside the EU, Brzezinski continued, “On both sides of the Atlantic, SMEs are an important source of innovation, new products, and new services, and are already benefitting from transatlantic trade. TTIP can also be a way to reach out to those who want to be part of Europe in the future.”
Putting the current TTIP negotiations into a historical perspective, Ambassador Hafström pointed out that Sweden was one of the countries that signed the first trade agreement between the newly formed United States and Europe in 1793. Hafström also brought the conversation up to date by mentioning that Sweden is the largest investor in the United States per capita. “Swedish companies are generating 250,000 jobs in the US,” Hafström said. “TTIP is about job creation, and giving our young people in Sweden the opportunity to bring their best qualities forward.”
During Amerikadagen, a series of panel workshops also brought advice from business representatives with topics ranging from attracting investors, exploring distribution channels and positioning products to understanding insurance liability and tax codes. Presentations from participating organizations and major Swedish company executives, including Volvo, Astra Zeneca, Ericsson, AB Invest Capital and Sandvik concluded the afternoon’s event schedule.