Bordering Norway and Finland and connected to Denmark via a bridge-tunnel, Sweden is a country in northern Europe. Its official name is the Kingdom of Sweden.
Sweden exported US$160.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 14.7% increase since 2015 but a -3.2% downtick from 2018 to 2019.
Applying a continental lens, 70.3% of Sweden’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 13.2% were sold to importers in Asia. Sweden shipped another 8.8% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (1.8%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.5%) then Oceania led by Australia (1.2%).
Sweden’s Top 15 Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Sweden’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. That is, countries that imported the most Swedish shipments by dollar value during 2019. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Swedish exports.
- Norway: US$17 billion (10.6% of Sweden’s total exports)
- Germany: $16.5 billion (10.3%)
- United States: $12.2 billion (7.6%)
- Finland: $11.3 billion (7%)
- Denmark: $11.1 billion (6.9%)
- United Kingdom: $8.5 billion (5.3%)
- Netherlands: $8.4 billion (5.2%)
- China: $7.5 billion (4.7%)
- France: $6.4 billion (4%)
- Belgium: $6.3 billion (3.9%)
- Poland: $5.1 billion (3.2%)
- Italy: $4.3 billion (2.7%)
- Spain: $3.2 billion (2%)
- Japan: $2.6 billion (1.6%)
- Russia: $2.2 billion (1.4%)
Well over two-thirds (71.4%) of Swedish exports in 2019 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Three among Sweden’s top customers increased their consumption of Swedish imports from 2018 to 2019: United States (up 14.5%), Japan (up 3%) and Russia (up 0.8%).
Leading reductions year over year belong to the Netherlands (down -13.1%), France (down -8.9%) and the United Kingdom (down -7.7%).
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Sweden incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- Germany: -US$11.8 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2019)
- Netherlands: -$6.5 billion
- China: -$2 billion
- Russia: -$1.9 billion
- Poland: -$1.6 billion
- Czech Republic: -$1.3 billion
- Ireland: -$1.1 billion
- Hungary: -$1 billion
- Vietnam: -$992.7 million
- Italy: -$988.1 million
Among Sweden’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Swedish deficits with China (up 5,278%), Ireland (up 20.1%) and Poland (up 17%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Sweden’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Sweden to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Overall Sweden generated a $1.9 billion trade surplus for 2019, reversing the -$4.2 billion in red ink during 2018.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Sweden incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- United States: US$7.6 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2019)
- Norway: $3.8 billion
- Finland: $3.5 billion
- Australia: $1.4 billion
- United Kingdom: $1.2 billion
- Japan: $1.2 billion
- Spain: $931.2 million
- United Arab Emirates: $836.3 million
- Saudi Arabia: $816.2 million
- Singapore: $809.3 million
Among Sweden’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Swedish surpluses with the United Kingdom (up 72.5%), United Arab Emirates (up 65.5%) and Norway (up 47.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Sweden’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Sweden to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Swedish Trading Partners
Twenty-six corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Swedish companies that Forbes included:
- Alfa Laval (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- Assa Abloy (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- Atlas Copco (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- Autoliv (automotive parts)
- Electrolux Group (household appliances)
- Ericsson (communications equipment)
- Hexagon (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- Sandvik (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- SCA (household, personal care)
- SKF Group (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- Volvo Group (heavy equipment)
According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller exporters from Sweden:
- Bulten Sweden (automotive parts, screws/bolts/nuts)
- First Cargo Sweden (automobiles, bicycles, rubber tires)
- Gelita Sweden (gelatin, salted/smoked meat, peptones/other proteins)
- Kappahl (textile footwear, clothing)
- Kendrion Hagalund (automotive parts, smoking tobacco, titanium dioxide pigments)
See also Sweden’s Top 10 Imports and Sweden’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 22, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 22, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 22, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 22, 2020
Wikipedia, Sweden. Accessed on March 22, 2020
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 22, 2020