Trading PartnersSweden exports foremost to other European countries, Germany being the single most important trading partner. A further concentration on trading relations with the countries in EU can be expected as a result of Sweden's EU membership.
Over the last few decades, the import from rapidly developing Asian countries has been relatively large, with textiles as a major import product. A decrease can be expected in the future, though, because of EU import regulations and the starting of low-cost production in the Baltic and Eastern European countries.
A Historical PerspectiveConsidering its few inhabitants, Sweden's contribution to international trade is surprisingly large. With only 0.2 percent of the world population, the country accounts for about 2 percent of the world trade.
Before the time of industrialization, most of Sweden's imports consisted of consumer goods, while raw materials made up the largest part of the exports. This is a situation we recognize from developing countries today. After 1870 the share of consumer goods in the exports increased, a trend that was temporarily broken at the turn of the century. After World War II, a substantial export of engineering products like cars and electric appliances once again increased the share of manufactured goods in the exports.
The importance of raw materials in international trade has decreased rapidly after World War II. For example, a 'classic' Swedish export product like iron ore only accounts for 1 percent of the export value today. Instead, the engineering industry has become the dominating producer of export goods, accounting for some 40 percent of the overall export value.
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