Earlier this week, Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) reported that SÄPO has expressed concerns over Chinese investment in Sweden, warning that sensitive technologies could be transferred and political pressure could be brought to bear.
There is no doubt that Chinese investment is sparking unease among some, as highlighted in Sweden recently when it emerged that China had plans to invest in a deep water port in Lysekil. Enterprise Minister Mikael Damberg now tells SvD that it would be “dangerous” if Sweden were to take a protectionist stance and make life harder for Chinese investors.
Geely’s acquisition of Volvo Cars has underlined the benefits of closer cooperation with China. However, “we must not be naïve” in terms of Chinese investment, says the minister, who is currently lobbying for common EU-China rules. “We need to be clear about the choices we wish to make and Europe is pushing for the rules of the game to be more equal,” he says.
The government is prepared to give the go-ahead for Telia’s plans for a major acquisition.
Within Telia there has been growing frustration that the Swedish state, as the only major owner with 37% of the company, is defensive, putting a stop to significant structural deals. Minister for Enterprise Mikael Damberg now says to Dagens Industri (DI) that he has not stood in the way of any deal. “We have not formally been asked to go in with money in a deal,” he says, adding, “We are in continual discussions with the management of Telia and we have been clear that we back the board’s plans to grow in the Nordic and Baltic regions.”
He also says that Telia is a strategically important company for Sweden just now, making major investments in strategic infrastructure.
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