By Raymund Antonio
Recognizing the Philippines as a vital partner in its export, trade and other businesses, the Swedish government reopened on Tuesday, November 8 its embassy in Taguig City as “starting point for a closer cooperation.”
Sweden’s minister of enterprise and innovation Mikael Damberg said the reopening of the embassy would reestablish economic and foreign diplomatic relations with the Philippines.
“It is important for businesses to have a direct contact with the embassy if your doing investments so far away from Sweden,” Damberg told reporters at the inauguration ceremony at the Del Rosario Law Center in Bonifacio Global City.
Having an embassy here, Damberg said, would bolster Sweden’s presence in the emerging Southeast Asian market. Damberg acknowledged that Sweden would have “long-term engagement” with the country.
The Embassy of Sweden was closed in 2008 due to the global financial crisis, Damberg said, but insisted “Sweden has not been totally away.”
Sweden maintained honorary consulates in Manila and Cebu, aside from over 40 Swedish companies established in the country.
Damberg mentioned that IKEA will set up shop in Manila, with other Swedish companies possibly investing in the Philippines after their meeting with transportation secretary Arthur Tugade.
“There is a huge potential for more investments and trade between the Philippines and Sweden,” he noted.
At the inauguration, top executives of 30 Swedish corporations such as SAAB, Scania, Volvo, Ericsson, Swedish Match, SEB, Transcom and IKEA, among others were present.
They arrived in the country as part of the biggest Swedish business delegation.
Ylva Berg, president and chief executive officer of Business Sweden, said they met with Tugade the other day to discuss possible investments in the Philippines.
“The Philippines has a great lead to invest in infrastructure, ICT, telecom, transportation, health care, defense and security. That very well matches what Swedish companies are very good at delivery,” she said in a separate interview.
“Swedish companies are known to enter long relationships in equal terms. With the high quality and sustainable solutions and products. We think this is a good match,” Berg added.