The government is now turning to the EU for financial support for Swedish farmers who have been affected by the dry period.
“There are different situations in different parts of the country, but some parts are experiencing great difficulties,” says Minister for Rural Affairs Sven-Erik Bucht (S).
The minister is now in dialogue with colleagues in Finland and the Baltic states to find a joint solution to the situation. “We have discussed the issue of acting jointly in order to use the EU’s crisis funds,” he says.
“We are going to do what we can to limit the effects of US tariffs. The threat of tariffs also on cars is serious and will lead to investment being postponed,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, appearing before the parliamentary Committee on EU affairs yesterday.
He said that the EU has to respond to the US action but he is extremely concerned about the development and that the EU needs to continue to have a dialogue with the US.
Several of Sweden’s large industrial companies, including LKAB, Epiroc, ABB and AB Volvo, have formed an alliance to develop carbon dioxide-free and automated mines.
The alliance is to present its joint plan at a press conference on Wednesday at Epiroc’s test facility in Sickla. Enterprise Minister Mikael Damberg, LKAB’s CEO Jan Moström, Epiroc’s mining director Helena Hedblom and AB Volvo’s CEO Martin Lundstedt will participate in the press conference.
The collaboration is being described as “complex” and “unique” as so many large companies are contributing their most important innovations.
According to Dagens Industri (DI), LKAB is expected to invest around SEK 2 billion in the joint development project, which starts immediately and is expected to be ongoing until the 2020s.
Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces (ÖB) Micael Bydén is preparing radical savings. Cost increases and currency effects for major projects have accumulated and left a black hole in the finances.
Philip Simon, press chief for the Armed Forces, says that their previous assessment of a requirement of SEK 18 billion for the period 2019-2021 still applies and now they are looking at savings to be implemented if they are not granted SEK 18 billion in the autumn budget.
In the wait for a political decision, vital procurements such as the modernisation of Hercules and new arms systems for Gripen are being put on hold.
Volvo has opened its first car factory in the US, in the southern state South Carolina, where former governor Nikki Haley has actively opposed unions.
Nikki Haley was present at the opening of the new Volvo factory last week. Volvo’s CEO Håkan Samuelsson commented, “I was very impressed by her. She travelled personally to Gothenburg and sat down and talked to our people in the Volvo hall without me even knowing she was there. That indicates initiative and it impressed me.”
Nikki Haley is the Trump administration’s most visible female politician, writes DN, which asks if the praise of Nikki Haley compatible with Volvo’s corporate strategy, and does it entail political risks? According to Håkan Samuelssson the answer is no; he says that the car maker will not take a stance on the issue of unions.
The European Commission has decided that the EU will begin charging import duties of 25 per cent on EUR 2.8 billion of American goods, starting Friday. The tariffs will be placed on a range of goods, including jeans, bourbon and motorbikes.
EU Affairs and Trade Minister Ann Linde (S) tells the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that EU governments have ensured that the range of goods on the list can be purchased from countries other than the US. The two products on the list where the value of Swedish direct imports from the US is highest are cosmetics and rear-view mirrors.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said yesterday that the government is preparing for a scenario in which the US will impose tariffs on motor vehicles and that “we will not end up again in a situation like the one we had in 2008 and 2009”.
The PM who was visiting the site of Hybrit – an SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall project to produce fossil-free steel – is concerned over the risk of a tariff spiral, which does not bode well for the Swedish economy.
US and Asian markets nosedived on Tuesday following US President Donald Trump’s threat to place tariffs on another USD 200 billion of Chinese goods. With the EU planning to impose tariffs on US goods in the coming days, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has told the TT news agency that “a trade war is approaching”.
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson has warned that an escalation of the trade dispute will hurt the Swedish economy. Although the introduction of tariffs on aluminium and steel have had a limited impact on Swedish exports to the US so far, the minister is concerned over Mr Trump’s threat to raise tariffs on motor vehicles; Swedish exports of vehicles to the US amount to some SEK 20 billion annually and make up 23 per cent of the country’s total exports to the US.
EU Affairs and Trade Minister Ann Linde has said that the EU’s response to US tariffs, in the form of countermeasures, is proportionate and it is important that the EU does not contribute to an escalation of the conflict. “What is positive in this process is that the EU is sticking together and showing a united front”.
Ms Andersson then pointed out that 71 per cent of Sweden’s total exports go the EU’s internal market, saying: “This means that our EU membership is central in this situation and it is remarkable that there are several parties which believe we should leave the EU”.
Business daily Dagens Industri reports that currency fluctuations will have an impact on Sweden’s purchase of a new air defence system from the United States; in the past four months, the weak exchange rate of the Swedish krona to the US dollar has added an additional SEK 2.2 billion to the cost of the Patriot system – SEK 25.9 billion has suddenly become SEK 28.1 billion.
The Defence Materiel Administration’s Joakim Lewin, who has been involved in the negotiations with the Americans, is hoping the krona will strengthen before the bill is to be paid. He says the authority is operating “within the financial framework it has received from the Armed Forces, so it is a matter for the Armed Forces if there is anything they wish to change”.
The newspaper also reports that the maintenance of the Patriot is likely to cost SEK 300 million annually, corresponding to a third of the Swedish Army’s current maintenance costs.
After years of tests, defence and security company Saab’s Carl Gustaf rifle is about to become the US Army’s standard support weapon. The clearest indication of this is that the Carl Gustaf is being fielded from US Special Operations Command to the US Army.
Saab is now waiting for its first order in a deal that could be worth up to SEK 10 billion over a 10-year period.
Even though spending on immigration and integration is falling, state spending is increasing dramatically this year due to budget investments, according to the new forecast from the Swedish National Financial Management Authority. According to the forecast, GDP growth will be 2.7 per cent this year and 1.5 per cent in 2019.
We are a small, but qualified team of graduates in politics, economics, English and classics dedicated to providing quality news digests in English that offer readers a first-hand look at the most important topics covered by the Swedish press. Here you will find a selection of the articles that are published in our Swedish Press Review.