Following an extended period of favourable conditions for global trade, current developments represent an abrupt U-turn. Over the course of the past decade, the gradual rise of protectionism has gathered strength. New and fast-growing economies are challenging the incumbent industrialised nations with their own economic agenda. This has led to conflicts of interest that have paralysed the World Trade Organization, WTO. At the same time, economic nationalism continues to fuel the power struggle between the US and China.
World trade has stagnated since late 2018, partly as a result of the trade barriers that have been erected. The coronavirus pandemic has led to export restrictions and a hefty expansion of state aid in many parts of the world. There is a considerable risk that these measures will remain in place, in some form or another, even after the pandemic has ebbed away.
Against the background of the Swedish economy’s high reliance on exports, it is more important than ever to gain an understanding of how these developments affect the internationalisation of Swedish companies and their response on foreign markets. Are export companies rethinking their decision-making in light of growing protectionism, or are their strategies for overseas operations more or less unchanged by the trade- and investment barriers that have arisen?
In this first co-produced report between Business Sweden and Kommerskollegium, the National Board of Trade Sweden, we have interviewed some 20 large Swedish companies in an attempt to answer that question.
The report is in Swedish