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Sweden Economy
 
 
 

General

Sweden is a highly industrialised country and has one of the highest living standards in the world. Since 1940 there has been a great movement of workers from farms to cities; nevertheless, agricultural output has increased considerably with the application of scientific farming methods. In 2006 industry contributed about 28% of the annual national income and agriculture about 1%. Transportation, communication and trade are also important. Farming is concentrated in the southern part of the country; the leading commodities produced are dairy products, grain (including fodder crops), sugar beets, and potatoes. Large numbers of poultry, hogs and cattle are raised.

Sweden's industry is overwhelmingly in private control; unlike some other industrialised Western countries, such as Austria and Italy, publicly owned enterprises were always of minor importance. 80% of the workforce is organised through the trade-unions which have the right to elect two representatives to the board in all Swedish companies with more than 25 employees.

Sweden is one of the world's leading producers of iron ore; important mines are at Kiruna and Gällivare. Copper, lead, and zinc ores and pyrite are also extracted. The country's chief industrial centres are Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö, Uppsala, Västerås, Helsingborg and Norrköping. Food processing is important and the leading manufactures include iron and steel, machinery, precision equipment, forest products, chemicals and motor vehicles. Sweden is known for its decorative and folk arts, fine glassware (made especially at Orrefors), and high-quality steel cutlery and blades. Much hydroelectric power is generated. The country's beautiful scenery and handsome towns and cities attract large numbers of tourists.

Sweden is known for its high taxes and large public sector. According to the statistics collected by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Sweden has the highest total tax revenue, as a share of the country's income, of any ranked country (as of 2005). It is also the only country in the world with a total tax revenue higher than 50%.

Sweden carries on a large foreign trade, and the value of exports usually slightly exceeds that of imports. The chief exports are machinery, motor vehicles, paper goods, pulp and wood, iron and steel products, and chemicals.The main imports are machinery, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, motor vehicles, iron and steel, foodstuffs, and clothing. The principal trade partners are Germany, Norway, Denmark, Great Britain and Finland.

Overview

Economy - overview:
Aided by peace and neutrality for the whole of the 20th century, Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living under a mixed system of high-tech capitalism and extensive welfare benefits. It has a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labour force. Timber, hydropower and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Privately owned firms account for about 90% of industrial output, of which the engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. Agriculture accounts for only 1% of GDP and 2% of employment. Sweden is in the midst of a sustained economic upswing, boosted by increased domestic demand and strong exports. This and robust finances have offered the centre-right government considerable scope to implement its reform program aimed at increasing employment, reducing welfare dependence, and streamlining the state's role in the economy. The govenment plans to sell US$31 billion in state assets during the next three years to further stimulate growth and raise revenue to pay down the federal debt. In September 2003, Swedish voters turned down entry into the euro system concerned about the impact on the economy and sovereignty.


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