Sweden - Country Commercial Guide
Investment Climate Statement

The Investment Climate Statement Chapter of the CCG is provided by the State Department. Any questions on the ICS can be directed to EB-ICS-DL@state.gov.

Last published date: 2021-09-14

The U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statements provide information on the business climates of more than 170 economies and are prepared by economic officers stationed in embassies and posts around the world.  They analyze a variety of economies that are or could be markets for U.S. businesses.

Topics include Openness to Investment, Legal and Regulatory systems, Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property Rights, Transparency, Performance Requirements, State-Owned Enterprises, Responsible Business Conduct, and Corruption.

These statements highlight persistent barriers to further U.S. investment.  Addressing these barriers would expand high-quality, private sector-led investment in infrastructure, further women’s economic empowerment, and facilitate a healthy business environment for the digital economy.  

Investment Climate Executive Summary

Sweden is generally considered a highly favorable investment destination.  Sweden offers an extremely competitive, open economy with access to new products, technologies, skills, and innovations.  Sweden also has a well-educated labor force, outstanding communication infrastructure, and a stable political environment, which makes it a choice destination for U.S. and foreign companies.  Low levels of corporate tax, the absence of withholding tax on dividends, and a favorable holding company regime are additional incentives for doing business in Sweden.

Sweden’s attractiveness as an investment destination is tempered by a few structural business challenges.  These include high personal and VAT taxes.  In addition, the high cost of labor, rigid labor legislation and regulations, a persistent housing shortage, and the general high cost of living in Sweden can present challenges to attracting, hiring, and maintaining talent for new firms entering Sweden.  Historically, the telecommunications, information technology, healthcare, energy, and public transport sectors have attracted the most foreign investment.  However, manufacturing, wholesale, and retail trade have also recently attracted increased foreign funds.

Overall, investment conditions remain largely favorable.  Sweden ranked tenth on the World Bank 2020 Doing Business Report, which highlighted Sweden’s overall business environment as among the most business friendly measured. In the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Competitiveness Report, Sweden was ranked eight out of 138 countries in overall competitiveness and productivity.  The report highlighted Sweden’s strengths: human capital (health, education level, and skills of the population), macroeconomic stability, and technical and physical infrastructure.  Bloomberg’s 2021 Innovation Index ranked Sweden fifth among the most innovative nations on earth; a pattern reinforced by Sweden ranked first on the European Commission’s 2020 European Innovation Scoreboard and second on the World Intellectual Property Organization/INSEAD 2020 Global Innovation Index.  Also in 2020, Transparency International ranked Sweden as one of the most corruption-free countries in the world – third out of 180.

Sweden is perceived as a creative place with interesting research and technology.  It is well equipped to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution with a superior IT infrastructure and is seen as a frontrunner in adopting new technologies and setting new consumer trends.  U.S. and other exporters can take advantage of a test market full of demanding, highly sophisticated customers.

To access the ICS, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.