Martin Hagström, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to Sweden.
To this day, our connection as next door neighbours in Europe continues to grow ever closer. Our trade relations are expanding supported by Ukraine’s ongoing economic integration with the EU. Investments are growing. More and more Ukrainians and Swedes have a personal understanding of the another country, as the visa-free regime and more frequent air connections have simplified travel. A weekend stay in Stockholm or Malmö is only some two hours away from Ukraine’s capital!
Around 100 Swedish companies such as Electrolux, Ericsson, Grain Alliance, SEB Corporate Bank, Scania, Sigma Software, Westinghouse Electric Sweden, ABB and many others are effectively operating in Ukraine. New major entries include companies like IKEA and H&M, which are confidently entering the Ukrainian market.
So, we have every reason to congratulate each other on the positive dynamics in our relations. Still, at the same time, we are clearly very far from using our full potential. The flows of trade and investments are growing, but they are still very modest in absolute terms, compared with many of Ukraine’s neighbours.
This is the main reason why the Swedish Embassy in Kyiv, together with the Swedish business community in Ukraine, will host a Sweden-Ukraine Business Forum on 23 May. The forum will be organized already for the 8th time, and as usually, we will use it as an occasion to showcase the potential for both Ukrainian and Swedish exporters.
This year, we will have a special focus on sustainability in its widest sense. This is an area where Swedish business tends to excel – both by being environmentally and socially responsible and by producing products of a superior quality that will last for a long time.
The forum will also focus on decentralization and the financial market. The session on decentralization will be dedicated to digital transformation and revolve around real cases presented by Swedish and Ukrainian Mayors. The discussion on finance will focus i.e. on the movement towards a possible cashless society, where Sweden is one of the global leaders. We are happy that we’ve been able to invite the Head of the National Bank of Sweden Mr. Stefan Ingves to this part of the event.
As a country, Sweden is also a longstanding and sustainable partner to Ukraine. Our reform cooperation started in 1995, and within our current program for 2014 – 2020, the overall reform cooperation is expected to amount to some 175 million euros. And we are strongly committed to staying engaged and to contribute to closer relations, on a bilateral as well as an EU level.
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