Trends with: Erik Lagerlöf

Erik is an Adjunct Professor at the Stockholm School of Economics and an active member of the Chamber.

What trends do you see for the spring within your line of business?

The conditions for international trade and investment are facing considerable changes. The EU’s focus on strategic autonomy, Brexit, serious security concerns in Europe and rising tensions between the US and China are among the challenges that generate significant geoeconomic consequences. These developments have generated an intensified focus on issues related to international trade, both within and outside Europe.

From your perspective, what are the greatest challenges right now?

Businesses must face up to the many new and far-reaching legislations adopted by the EU that have a direct and sometimes highly intrusive impact on trade internationally and within the Single Market. New rules regulating supply chains, the foreign subsidies regulation and the forthcoming critical raw materials act are among these legal requirements. 

Another issue that will become increasingly relevant is the connection between trade and security. Companies must not only understand and relate to how sanctions impact their operations, trade and security will be a key concern in several areas.

Current challenges also include the new rules on foreign direct investment, both on national and EU level, that will have a significant impact on transactions and investments in general.

And, opportunities?

Provided the Windsor Agreement concerning Northern Ireland will be implemented, I believe we will see a better relationship between the EU and the UK in general. This may well lead to important advances in the trade relations between the parties; there are several significant issues that should be resolved. Such improvements will benefit businesses engaged in cross-border trade relations with the UK.

The EU recently released its green industrial strategy. This includes several proposals for significant EU and Member State investments in a number of areas. Many Swedish companies will be well placed to take advantage of these investments.

Finally, advanced talks are already taking place concerning the future of Ukraine and how we may help to rebuild the country when the war has come to an end. Such involvement by the business community will not only benefit Ukraine, it will also generate significant opportunities for those engaged.