Reuters has reported that the accords struck between the United States and Mexico on trade include an auto export cap and would allow Washington to impose punitive tariffs of up to 25 per cent on annual Mexican car imports of over 2.4 million vehicles.
The agreement will directly affect brake system maker Haldex, which last year saw half of its sales come from North America. “Since the region is such an important part of our business, … we will need to look at supply chains, raise the level of material content from the region and cut back in Europe and Asia, and take a look at where we manufacture,” says Haldex CEO Åke Bengtsson.
Swedish Melllby Gård AB is a major shareholder in education company AcadeMedia. On Wednesday, its CEO Johan Andersson accused the government of hostility to free enterprise and called into question the profit cap on private schools.
In Dagens Nyheter today, Upper Secondary Minister Anna Ekström bites back, describing the private companies in the education sector as “tone deaf”. Underlining the fact that free schools have been entrusted with the task of teaching, she says many voters believe the gains made by these companies should go towards education rather than profit. “The whole idea of school vouchers is that we use tax-payer funds for … education.”
The minister dismisses Andersson’s accusation of hostility, saying the government has done a great deal to promote exports and has in fact pursued policies designed to promote enterprise.
Bettina Kashefi, chief economist at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, has slammed the Social Democrats’ promise of an extra week of paid holiday for parents. Describing the proposal as “odd, almost desperate, Kashefi has said: “It’s remarkable that they are making such a promise to expand one of the Western world’s most generous parental insurance schemes. Recruitment and the skills supply are the biggest problems facing our member companies. Seventy per cent of businesses cannot find staff and [the Social Democrats] then launch a reform that will cut working hours.”
Following the escalation of US trade disputes, positive signals are emerging from Washington and markets have welcomed the news that the US and Mexico have reached a breakthrough with a Nafta revamp. Additionally, the timeline for US tariffs on European auto imports has been postponed.
The office of European Trade Commission Cecilia Malmström has told Dagens Industri (DI) that talks are ongoing and the signals are positive: “Both sides have agreed not to introduce any new tariffs as long as we are talking to each other”.
The Brussels office has also confirmed that Cecilia Malmström will meet Robert Lighthizer, the US trade representative, in September.
Swedish economic growth remains healthy but there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration ahead of the central bank’s next meeting, said Riksbank deputy governor Kerstin af Jochnick on Friday. These include concerns over Italy, the escalating trade conflict between the US and China, and the turbulence in Turkey.
Af Jochnick commented that the preliminary estimate of Swedish GDP growth for the second quarter was higher than expected, economic activity remains elevated and the labour market is strong, but underlying inflation remains low.
During the spring there was uproar over key skilled workers being deported because of small
mistakes made by their employers.
From Friday, thousands of foreign experts will be able to get a Swedish work permit much
faster. The Migration Agency’s new certification means that the Association of Swedish
Engineering Industries (Teknikföretagen) acts as a guarantor that its almost 4,000 member
companies follow the collective agreement’s salary and insurance requirements.
Teknikföretagen assesses that up to 2,000 jobs per year could be sped up by the certification.
The queues will now be cut from between nine and 18 months, to four weeks.
Telia’s purchase of TV4 and C More has led the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority to act. Only a month or so after the deal was presented, the authority has launched an inquiry, which could lead to TV4 and C More’s licences being revoked.
TV4’s current licence applies until 31 March 2020. However it is conditional on the ownership not changing significantly.
At the end of July, Telia presented the deal in which it would purchase Bonnier Broadcasting, with TV4, C More and the Finnish MTV, for SEK 9.2 billion.
Helena Söderman, from the authority, says that there is a question of whether the ownership conditions have been broken. According to Telia’s director of communication there is only one condition that could stop the deal. “That is if the EU’s competition authority does not approve the set up,” he says.
Previously both the Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (S) and Moderate economic spokesperson Elisabeth Svantesson have criticised Telia’s deal because the state is its principle owner. “It is important for the government that there is diversity in the media, and furthermore, it is important that there are strong economic grounds for the deal,” said Enterprise Minister Mikael Damberg recently. (SvD I: 8)
It must become cheaper to construct new houses, states the housing delegation 2030, which has been commissioned by the Swedish Union of Tenants to present ideas to resolve the housing crisis.
“The cost of building houses compared to other production of goods in Sweden is extremely high,” says former politician Anders Sundström (S), chair of the delegation. This is due to regulation and local production of housing.
To bring down the cost of land, municipalities need to work actively to acquire land and invest in roads, water and sewage systems. He also does not believe land should be allocated to the building developers who pay the highest price. Instead it should go to whoever can create the most cost-effective houses in the area.
Housing minister Peter Eriksson (Green) is positive to the proposals although he does not believe that legislation is the way to go.
A total of 108 foreign investments were made in Sweden last year, which is an increase of 20 per cent on 2016, according to audit firm EY.
Sweden is not the best in the Nordic region though; 191 foreign investments were made in Finland, and 411 in the Nordic region as a whole, an increase of 25 per cent.
The figures relate to investments that have created new offices and jobs, and do not include portfolio investments or corporate transactions.
In Sweden, the investments helped create over 6,000 jobs.
The new bonus-malus system that was brought in on 1 July has increased demand for chargeable cars significantly in Sweden. The demand for the new, higher subsidies has led to longer waiting times for some models and among some manufacturers there is a huge shortage of stock, reports DN.
“Those ordering a charging hybrid can expect to get the car after the new year,” says Volvo Cars’ information director Annika Bjerstaf.
The new tax system means that subsidies for electric cars have been raised by 50 per cent to SEK 60,000.
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