Encouraging NZ Business in Sweden

The combined population of Australia and New Zealand is about 29m as of October 2018. The population of the Nordic countries is about the same. The Nordic region includes Scandinavia of which Sweden is the largest country by population.
According to the Business Sweden office in Sydney summary of the ANZ market:

“When measuring market shares it is the eighth most important export market for Swedish companies. If you add up the exports to Australia and New Zealand only United States and China are larger export markets if you take the step outside Europe.
Swedish exports to New Zealand have consisted mainly of machinery, transport equipment, pig meat, and medical and pharmaceutical products.
The agricultural sector in New Zealand is of particular interest to Swedish companies, since it is a major industry, especially for dairy and meat products.”

According to official MFAT data NZ trade with Sweden is significant although the numbers look rather lopsided* from New Zealand. When you add the numbers up for Denmark, Norway and Finland to Sweden it gets a bit more interesting.

Top goods exports to Sweden: sheep meat, wine, apples and seafood
Top goods exports to Denmark: butter and dairy spreads; pharmaceutical products; beef and lamb
Top goods exports to Norway: aluminium, vegetables, machinery
Top goods exports to Finland: sheep meat, venison and wine.

One of the reasons I am looking up the trade stats for this region is that NZ is going to open a new embassy in Stockholm, Sweden in November of this year.

“New Zealand is planting a flag in Sweden for the second time in November, and Foreign Minister Winston Peters is promising a “barnstorming” opening to mark the occasion.”…
“Bolstering respect, tourism and a current $750m in trade partially explains the embassy in Sweden.
But predominantly, Peters wants to learn from the region’s “first class” economies and social outcomes, its fishing technology, even the top-of-the-line whiteware it produces.
“We’re not performing as well as we should. And Scandinavian and Nordic countries can help us because many of them are stand-out models.
“All the evidence is there now, and I can see that we put an official operation in there and we’ll get a serious payback from that.”
Exactly how it will happen is yet to be seen. Peters announced the appointment of diplomat Andrew Jenks to the post on Friday, a Swedish speaker who previously worked in trade policy in Stockholm.”

I used the linked MFAT summaries above to combine the numbers. The Stuff story is probably not including Finland but why wouldn’t you? Estonia is also definitely a country of interest for NZ or should be in my view.

By way of comparison in 2016 NZ GDP was U.S 185b. ($US205b in 2017) so we are relatively much smaller than these countries. On population numbers NZ is smaller than all of these 4 countries too.

* The Numbers Denmark Finland Norway Sweden Totals
Total trade in goods $(m) 440 171 92 358 1061
Exports from NZ ($m) 155 16 41 62 274
Imports to NZ ($m) 285 155 51 296 787
GDP US$324 billion US$253 billion US$397 billion US$477 billion $US1451 billion
Stats source date 2017 2017 2017 2014

The trade numbers from MFAT sources appear to be only for goods although there is a discrepancy in the total for Denmark with this link calculates $381m and the spreadsheet says $440m. At present Denmark rather than Sweden is our biggest trade partner in this region.

Andrew Jenks has been appointed the NZ ambassador to Sweden. In my view New Zealand could do a whole lot better on export trade to Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. The new embassy is in Sweden but looking at it as a regional asset for New Zealand makes more sense.

Side note: In (my understanding) the export numbers referred to above leave out the value of services exports. $274m of goods exports to these four countries is a relatively small number. As far as I can tell at the top line level the value of services in the total exports number of NZ is around 30%. See figure 2.  Figure 3 shows

“Education travel services grew NZ$422 million (12%) over the past year, and have experienced significant growth of NZ$916 million over the past two years, with growth being attributed to more students travelling to New Zealand from India and China. “

Another reason for my interest in Sweden is that for the past 7 years I have been increasingly involved in helping to facilitate a small marketing exchange programme from a Swedish university to Auckland.

Each year a number of marketing students come out here to explore NZ and to work as interns for local businesses. I always wonder are there any NZ businesses who want to sell something other than “sheep meat, wine, apples and seafood” to Sweden.

If you have a business targeting exports to Sweden and you need marketing help I’d like to hear from you. If you think having a Swedish marketing intern in your team might benefit your market thinking or any other reason I’d also be interested to connect.

I did speak with a brewer some time ago about their beer exports to Sweden. Sadly they no longer do that but I’m sure we must have some software or other smart technology or services that would be exportable?

This chart below is from page 2 of some Economic stats. I drew the red outline in the columns around Sweden rankings also show by way of comparison.

This is a kind of short hand towards thinking about trade potential between our countries.

Personally I’m very interested in New Zealand having an embassy in Sweden. In the index chart see also placings for Norway, Denmark and Finland. I think the world can learn a great deal from the Nordic countries.

I have skipped over Finland in this post but I know some Australian companies with excellent Finnish business relationships. We need more of that too and I will write about that another day.

NZ- Sweden index

Here is a version with Norway, Denmark & Finland labelled. I’m co-opting the diagram to illustrate a different point to what was intended but it does tell a bigger story about the Nordic region in the context of how NZ compares.

NZ- Sweden index