Sweden Foreign Trade

In 2002, Sweden was a prosperous country in Northern Europe with a population of just under 8 million people. It had an area of 450,295 square kilometers and was bordered by Norway to the west and Finland to the northeast. Swedish was the official language but English was also widely spoken. The majority of the population were members of the Church of Sweden, although other religions such as Islam and Buddhism were also present. The economy was largely driven by exports including machinery, motor vehicles, paper products, iron and steel products as well as forestry and fishing. In 2002, Sweden had one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world at $36,800. Despite its wealth and economic success, there were still some social issues such as gender inequality with women holding fewer positions in politics than men. In addition to this, there were also high levels of immigration due to asylum seekers from countries such as Iraq and Somalia that resulted in cultural diversity within Sweden’s borders. According to computerannals, education was free for all citizens up until university level and healthcare services were provided free of charge for all residents regardless of their nationality or income level. Overall, Sweden had achieved a high standard of living by 2002 while still striving towards greater social equality and economic prosperity for all its citizens.

Foreign trade

Sweden is heavily dependent on foreign trade. As the domestic market is small, a large foreign market is necessary in order to continue to produce highly developed goods and services. In addition, Sweden has large assets of important raw materials that are lacking in most European countries, which has stimulated trade with countries in the immediate area.

Sweden’s foreign trade has increased in line with the economic development in other parts of the world and the business world is increasingly globalized and long-distance trade strengthened. World trade liberalization has also contributed to increased foreign trade.

Sweden now exports goods and services at a value equivalent to 45 percent of GDP. The proportion is higher now than it was in the early 1990s, although it declined during the financial crisis of 2008–09 and has fluctuated somewhat since then. The share of services in total exports has increased since the 1990s and in 2014 was just over 30 percent of exports’ share of GDP.

Sweden Border Countries Map

The trade balance

Since the beginning of the 1990s, export revenues have been greater than import costs and the trade balance has been positive. The surplus grew until 2006 but has since shrunk.

Workshop products are the most important commodity group in foreign trade. They account for about 45 percent of export revenue and almost as much of import costs. Machines, electronics, telecommunications equipment, cars and other means of transport and metal products are marked in both exports and imports. A weak trend in the 2000s has been a declining share of the workshop products in the export value.

A large part of Sweden’s exports consist of processed products from the basic industries, ie paper and wood products from the forest industry and steel, iron and metals from the steel and mining industries. The chemical industry is also export-oriented; pharmaceuticals and plastics produce large export earnings. Raw materials such as agricultural products, timber and ores accounted for most of the exports until about 1900. Then a rapid change in the composition of commodities began in parallel with Sweden’s industrialization. Increasingly processed industrial products have been exported, especially products from the engineering industry, and now raw materials account for just under 7 percent of the export value.

Within imports, fossil fuels (mainly crude oil), refined oil products and electricity have been a major item for many decades, but oil dependency has decreased. In 1980, these products accounted for 20 percent of the total import value, in 2014 for 14 percent. Conversely, net imports of food increase every year, and prominent items in the imports are fruits, meats and beverages. Even greater is the import of seafood, but most of it is sold on to third countries.

The services balance

The balance of services was negative until 2005 and mainly comprised travel. But already in the years after the turn of the 2000, a sharp increase had begun in the service trade, and it continued until 2014. The main explanation is a rapidly growing trade in data and information services and other business and consulting services. The service trade also includes other technical services, patents, licenses for manufacturing goods and cross-border insurance as well as tourism, business travel and transport. Foreign visitors’ consumption in Sweden is counted as service exports, while costs when residents of Sweden visit abroad are registered as service imports.

Trading Partners

Foreign trade in goods is mostly done with countries in Europe, especially with the EU and Norway; almost three quarters of the goods exports go to countries in Europe. In recent years, trade has increased with countries in Asia, primarily China. Trade with the United States is small, as with other parts of the world.

In terms of individual countries, Germany and Norway are Sweden’s two largest goods export markets and also the countries from which we import the most.

Country data

According to Countryaah website, national day of Sweden is every June 6th.

Area: 450,295 km2 (world ranking: 55)

Population: 10,068,000

Population density: 22 per km2 (as of 2017, world ranking: 89)

Capital: Stockholm

Official languages: Swedish

Gross domestic product: 477.9 billion euros; Real growth: 2.4%

Gross national product (GNP, per resident and year): 52,590 US$

Currency: 1 Swedish krona (skr) = 100 ore


Rauchstr. 1, 10787 Berlin
Telephone 030 505060,
Fax 030 50506789

Head of State: Carl XVI. Gustaf, Head of Government: Stefan Löfven, Exterior: Margot Wallström

National Day: 6.6. (Flag day: the Wasa dynasty took office in 1523)

Administrative division
21 districts

State and form of government
Constitution of 1975
Parliamentary monarchy
Parliament: Reichstag (Riksdag) with 349 members, election every 4 years.
Suffrage from 18 years of age

Population: Sweden, last census 2011: 9,482. 855 residents
approx. 500,000 Swedes and 20,000 Sámi (Sami)
foreigners in 2017: 8.4%

Cities (with population): (as of 2016) Stockholm 935,619 residents (A 2.3 million), Gothenburg 556,640, Malmö 328,494, Uppsala 214,559, Linköping 155.817, Västeras 147.420, Örebro 146.631, Helsingborg 140.547, Norrköping 139.363, Jönköping 135.297, Umea 122.892, Lund 118.542

Religions: 66% Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden, 6% Muslims, 2% Catholics and others; Minorities from Protestant free churches, Jews and others (as of 2006)

Languages: Swedish; Recognized minority languages: Finnish, Meänkieli, North Sami, Lule Sami, South Sami, Romani, Yiddish

Employed by economic sector,
agriculture. 2%, industry 18%, business 80% (2017)

Unemployment (in% of all labor force): 2017: 6.7%

Inflation rate (in%): 2017: 1.9%

Foreign trade: import: 136.3 billion euros (2017); Export: 135.5 billion euros (2017)