Scotland: a trading nation

A plan for growing Scotland's exports.


Country brief

Sweden is a wealthy, developed and prosperous country that is part of the Nordic and Baltic region and with a population of 10.1 million. It is the largest member of the Nordic and Baltic eight. It ranks 22nd in the world for GDP and, according to data from the IMF, it is ranked 12th for GDP per capita.

Sweden is a world leader in investment in research and development – spending 3% of GDP annually. 

Key market information

Economic indicators


GDP 2017*


GDP per capita 2017*


GDP annual growth rate 2013-2017


GDP annual growth forecast 2018-2023


Population 2017


Projected population growth 2017-2050 (% change)


Average tariff 2016


Scotland’s exports to Sweden


Scotland’s exports to Sweden 2017


Average annual growth in Scotland’s exports to Sweden 2013-2017


Country rank in Scotland’s exports 2017


Scotland's Top Export Sectors to Sweden

Scotland's Top Export Sectors to Sweden Chart

Sweden imports from the world


Sweden goods and services imports 2017*


Sweden average annual Import growth 2013-2017*


Sweden Top 15 Import Sectors

Sweden Top 15 Import Sectors Chart

Sources: Economic indicators (World Bank, IMF World Economic Outlook), Scotland’s Exports (Export Statistics Scotland 2017), Country Imports (World Bank, UN Comtrade).

* denotes an indicator which has been converted into GB£ from US$ using the Bank of England’s average annual spot rate data. Note growth rates may vary depending on unit of currency used.

The Swedish Economy

Sweden is a developed, prosperous economy and has an educated and skilled workforce. It is a significant export market for Scotland, with Scotland’s exports worth £585 million in 2017.

Key economic indicators are:

  • The Swedish economy has been growing steadily at 2.3% of GDP in 2018. (OECD)
  • Exports as a percentage of Sweden’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) were 47% in 2018. (OECD)
  • Unemployment is relatively low at approximately 6.3% in 2018. (OECD)

Sweden is a member of the European Union(EU), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international bodies. Goods manufactured in Scotland are exempt from import duties.

The Department for International Trade’s guide to doing business in Sweden can be found here

Strengths of the Swedish market include:

Sweden ranks 12th out of 190 countries in the World Bank rankings for ease of doing business in 2018.

  • Strong, developed economy 
  • Highly educated and skilled workforce 
  • Open economy
  • User friendly bureaucracy 

Benefits for Scottish businesses exporting to Sweden include:

  • English is widely used as a business language
  • High standard of living
  • Modern and efficient business culture
  • Open market

What Scotland exports to Sweden

Sweden is Scotland’s 17th largest export market with exports worth £585 million in 2017,  

1.8% of Scotland’s total international exports. (Export Statistics Scotland)

The top 4 Scottish export sectors to Sweden are:

  • Technology, Digital and Media
  • Wholesale and Retail Trade
  • Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing
  • Chemical and life Sciences

Priority sectors in Sweden for economic development include:

  • Transport and Infrastructure
  • Construction
  • Renewable energy
  • Life Sciences
  • Cyber Security and Defence

Sectoral Opportunities

When compared to the export performance of comparator countries (Norway, Finland, Ireland and Denmark), Sweden presents potential export opportunities in the following subsectors: • Computer and IT Services

  • Financial Services
  • Manufacture of Computer, Electronic and Optical Products
  • Machinery and Equipment
  • Engineering Services
  • Business Support Services
  • Food
  • Transport Equipment

Infographic showing top opportunities in Sweden

Existing in-market support for Scottish businesses in Sweden

Scottish Development International offers support from neighbouring Copenhagen in Denmark, and Stavanger in Norway. The combined offices have 5 staff members supporting trade who are focused on the energy, science and tech and consumer industries.


There is currently 1 GlobalScot in Sweden covering the construction sector. Sweden is a priority country for expansion of the GlobalScot network.

Department for International Trade

Contact the Department for International Trade (DIT) team in Sweden for more information and advice on opportunities for doing business in Sweden.

The British Swedish Chamber of Commerce are able to offer member businesses support, advice and in-market introductions through their office in Stockholm. 

University links 

According to the EU Innovation Scoreboard 2018, Sweden is the top EU collaborator with Scotland for research.

The European Marine Energy Centre Ltd is currently collaborating with Uppsala University in 

Sweden on the €17 million Horizon 2020 research project for Clean Energy from Ocean Waves (CEFOW), deploying advanced multiple wave energy convertors to demonstrate that they are able to survive challenging sea conditions.

Back to top