Sweden has responded to the growing concerns of environmentalists in India and abroad as well as the general population of India over the rapidly rising hazardous levels of pollutants in our atmosphere. Sweden has offered to lend its expertise on clean energy production and technology to India.
“Sweden has many years of experience in the field of clean technology. The much debated air quality, for example, could benefit from Swedish solutions,” Consul General of Sweden Fredrika Ornbrant told.
Sustainable transport, an important part of the ‘Smart City‘ concept, is another area where Swedish companies are strong, she said. The Scandinavian country also has experience in decreasing emissions from coal-based thermal power plants, she added. She said the disease profile is changing in India and many other countries, as they grow richer.
“Swedish companies have good technologies and know-how to meet the changing demand in health care,” she said.
However, hurdles like import regulations, restrictions and customs duty impact companies negatively, especially in the life sciences, health care, automotive and heavy vehicles sectors, she said.
“A survey conducted by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce India found that 60 percent of the respondent companies consider cost structure to be a competitive disadvantage, as regulations, inverted duty structure and trade barriers contribute to additional cost of operations,” she said.
Exports and imports of goods between India and Sweden amounted to slightly over $2 billion in 2014. Ornbrant said the trade between the two countries gained momentum last year after two years of decline. In fact, Indian exports to Sweden has picked up more than vice-versa, as there was an increase of 11 percent in Indian exports of goods to Sweden between January to September in 2015, while the increase of Swedish exports to India during the same period was 6 percent, she said.
“However, services are not included in this figure. Indian export of services like information technology to Sweden is strong. We have around 20 Indian IT companies in our country,” she said.
Swedish industry body Business Sweden estimates that around 10,000 people in India are supporting Swedish companies with IT services, the Consul General said. On the other hand, Sweden exports engineering products, automotive and telecomequipment, pulp and paper and chemicals to India.
“Swedish high voltage equipment, for example, is contributing in electrifying India. The main Indian exports of goods are apparel and garments, machineries, vehicle parts, metal works and pharmaceuticals,” she added.