China is going to restrict trade with Sweden in the wake of Sweden’s actions over the case of Gui Minhai, China’s ambassador in Stockholm has said in an interview with Göteborgs-Posten.
“Nobody can count, on the one side, on damaging China’s interests and, on the other, making huge profits in the country,” Ambassador Gui Congyou told the newspaper.
The ambassador was interviewed alongside a seminar on Wednesday on Swedish-Chinese relations, arranged by the Society of International Affairs in Gothenburg and said the restrictions to exchanges between the countries includes culture, economy and trade.
Three weeks ago, the imprisoned Swedish-Chinese publisher Gui Minhai was awarded the Tucholsky prize for “his untiring work for the free word, in support of his release and the right to resume his publishing work”. China reacted swiftly and forcefully on the news mentioning “consequences” if the prize was awarded.
Defence group Saab has signed a contract for an upgrade programme for the German army’s armed vehicle simulator, AGDUS. Deliveries will take place during 2020-2022 and the value of the order is SEK 180 million, according to a press release.
“We are happy to expand the customer’s inter-operability, which is an important factor to be able to participate in high quality and multinational exercises,” says Åsa Thegström, head of Training & Simulations within Saab’s business area Dynamics.
DN also reports that Saab wants control over local manufacturing in India if the company succeeds in overcoming fighter jet manufacturer competitors in the battle for the world’s largest fighter aircraft contract. This was the comment from the Jas aircraft maker’s CEO Micael Johansson on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News. The defence group is part of the royal delegation currently visiting India.
Statistics Sweden has been criticised for failings in its statistics. According to the Swedish National Audit Office (Riksrevisionen) the agency has systematically underestimated the strength of Swedish public finances. Even GDP has been underestimated systematically in Statistics Sweden’s preliminary calculations.
“Systematic errors in statistics risk leading to systematic errors in fiscal policy,” writes auditor Helena Lindberg in a press release.
The National Audit Office also writes that the agency needs to take more responsibility for statistics it uses from other sources.
South Korea’s government wants to reduce the country’s dependence on a small number of huge companies by promoting innovative small businesses –with help from Sweden. A massive 80 per cent of South Korea’s GDP comes from the country’s ten largest companies, according to Seoul National University.
During a conference for investors in Seoul in November, Sweden was highlighted time after time as a role model. Earlier this year South Korea’s President Jae-in Moon opened a start-up centre in Stockholm with the aim of increasing cooperation with Swedish innovation companies, but also learning from the Swedish start-up model.
“Sweden and the Nordic countries have good programmes for supporting young people to start companies. That is what Korea also wants to do. We need a start-up boom,” says Dae-jin Jung, head of international investment policy at South Korea’s Ministry of Trade.
Poland is in negotiations with Sweden about the procurement of two second-hand Södermanland-class submarines, which would be leased initially.
The decision was announced on Twitter by the Polish Ministry of Defence on Thursday.
The deal could mean billions of kronor of income for modifications for Saab’s Kockums yard.
Neither Saab nor the Swedish Armed Forces commented the reports.
A Eurofound analysis of nine member states, which together account for nearly 4 out of 5 EU workers (ed.), shows that an average 12.7 per cent of the workforce is to be found in capital regions.
In Sweden, 24.4 per cent of jobs are in the Stockholm region – far more than in any of the other countries studied in the analysis. Furthermore, the share of jobs created in the region since 2002 is higher than in the other countries.
“I would not say that Stockholm is unique. In other countries with a relatively small population, a similar pattern is likely to be found,” says Eurofound analyst John Hurley, citing Ireland and Denmark.
“But it is true that Stockholm has a dominant position in the Swedish economy,” he adds.
The Stockholm region accounts for more than 30 per cent of Sweden’s GDP.
Hurley and his colleagues have considered why highly qualified jobs are concentrated to the major cities. With modern technology these jobs should be able to be carried out virtually anywhere in a country. However, proximity to major cities is becoming increasingly important for highly qualified jobs in finance, technical consulting and research, for instance.
“You might think that these jobs can be done anywhere, but in fact they benefit from a pool of skilled and talented people in the same area,” says the analyst.
SEB said it saw no need for further action as broadcaster SVT reported on Wednesday that an SEB client list contained 130 “red flag” names associated with non-resident companies suspected of money laundering in the Baltics, reports Dagens Industri.
SEB Chief Executive Johan Torgeby stood by earlier claims that the bank has not been systematically exploited for money laundering and dismissed SVT’s findings as nothing new.
Svenska Dagbladet reports that SVT identified 194 “high-risk clients”, of whom 90 could be linked to other money laundering scandals. One account holder, who purportedly handled transfers linked to the so-called Magnitsky case, was a client of SEB up until 2015.
SEB is currently the subject of a probe by Swedish and Baltic watchdogs but has declined to say whether the bank is also being investigated by US authorities.
Shares in SEB rallied 3.4% on Wednesday, recovering some of the ground lost when it emerged that it would be the subject of an SVT report.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is likely to become paralysed on 11 December since its appellate body will be down to one member. Describing the situation as grave, Swedish Foreign Trade Minister Anna Hallberg has been spending the past days in talks with the WTO’s director general and US, China and EU WTO ambassadors.
The US has blocked all appointments to the appellate body, which makes final rulings in trade disputes, saying it has a history of ignoring procedural rules, does not respect US legislation and is ineffective.
Hallberg says she agrees with the US over a number of issues such as reform and modernisation, but the collapse of the appellate process will only create divides between countries. Small countries such as Sweden will be seriously affected when the WTO ceases to function, according to the minister.
“The WTO requires a strong political leadership where we reform the WTO and the EU can play a clear role in this work and in getting China and the US on board. Sweden can also play an important role here; we have a solid reputation in these forums,” she remarks.
H&M and IKEA are among a number of global retailers said to be at the end of supply chains involving cotton products from the Chinese province of Xinjiang. According to BBC and Wall Street Journal reports, rights groups say Xinjiang’s Uighur minority are being persecuted and recruited for forced labour.
“You can't be sure that you don't have coerced labour in your supply chain if you do cotton business in China,” Nathan Ruser, researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told the BBC.
H&M has stated: “The H&M group prohibits all forms of forced labour and we place the same demands on our suppliers regardless of the country of production. We have no clothing production in Xinjiang, but we do have an indirect business relationship with a yarn supplier who in turn has a subcontractor in this region. We are well aware of the difficulties in detecting and preventing forced labour in a complex supply chain. We therefore see that close cooperation and exchange of information with organisations and other relevant actors is extremely important”.
IKEA has said an IWAY audit of its subcontractor in the region in July this year confirmed that “no forced labour was taking place”.
State-owned Vattenfall is considering the possibility of extending the operating lifetimes of its nuclear reactors to beyond 2040, reports broadcaster SVT.
Such a move would contradict the goal of the 2016 energy agreement, concluded by the government, the Centre Party, Moderates and Christian Democrats, which is for Sweden to have 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2040.
German energy supply company Uniper, which along with Vattenfall owns the Ringhals nuclear power plant, is also mulling new nuclear reactors.
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