Sweden Market Entry
- Market entry
- Forms and conditions of operation on the market
- Marketing and Communications
- Issues of intellectual property protection
- Public procurement market
- Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
- Visas, fees, specific conditions of travel to the territory
- Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
- Fairs and events
The characteristic features of the Swedish market are its low absorptive capacity (relatively small market), conservative attitude of customers, preference for domestic products or products of leading world brands and emphasis on quality, design and brand. Deciding to buy a product is a collective act, especially in medium-sized and larger companies. Check smber for agriculture and fishing facts of Sweden.
Consumer goods and agricultural products are delivered directly to retail chains, negotiations are conducted through buyers of individual organizations. It is also possible to sell through a wholesale company. The inclusion of a Czech product in the assortment of a department store or chain usually precedes the removal of a competitor’s product.
The trend towards maximum cost reduction and elimination of intermediate links between producer and consumer is strengthening. However, there are commodities for which it is recommended to find a representative or an intermediary who assists in removing bureaucratic obstacles, dealing with customs authorities or grouping minimum orders. The PaulTrade agency can help with the selection of a representative, or The Swedish Trade Union – Svensk Handel (www.svenskhandel.se) or the Union of Representatives (www.agenturforetagen.se).
Main factors affecting sales success:
- High quality products
- Adherence to delivery dates
- Timely and regular communication with the client
- Language skills (knowledge of the English language is sufficient)
- Punctuality and accuracy
- Knowledge of the environment and competition
- Correct construction of the price and readiness for transparent presentation of cost items
Import conditions and documents, customs system, export control
In Sweden, as in the entire EU, the free movement of goods works, i.e. goods from other EU countries are duty-free. The exporter does not have to declare the goods for customs procedures, but must pay VAT and other possible taxes to the Skatteverket (Swedish tax authority).
There are certain exceptions to the free movement of goods, which mainly concern alcohol, tobacco, some medicines, weapons, animals and animal products. The Tullverket (Swedish Customs Authority) checks whether the goods comply with the relevant legal regulations. If you are interested in importing any of the items, we recommend consulting with the relevant authority, see below:
- National Food Authority (Livsmedelsverket) – www.slv.se
- Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) – www.sjv.se
- Swedish Institute for Standardization – www.sis.se
- National Council for Consumer Policy – www.konsumentverket.se
- National Board of Trade – www.kommers.se
- Customs Administration – www.tullverket.se
Before exporting to Sweden, the Czech exporter is obliged to find out (e.g. by asking the importer) what special documents or documentation must be submitted for customs clearance. Responsibility for the delay or return of goods due to incompleteness or errors of documents rests exclusively with the exporter.
Very strict regulations apply to food imports. Shipments pass through transit customs, the importer is obliged to ensure preliminary customs procedures. The goods must be marked with the EU certification logo (CE) and their safety approved by the EU or the Swedish authority (Jordbruksverket). Meat products and poultry must be free of salmonella germs. Food products must have instructions or descriptions in Swedish. Some agricultural foods are tested for the presence of alphatoxins. The importation of domestic animals is subject to very strict regulations. More information can be found at: www.jordbruksverket.se.
Protection of the domestic market
Sweden openly adheres to the principles of the free market and at the same time rigorously protects its own market. The measures serve to protect the market against the import of low-quality or harmful substances containing goods. All information can be found at the National Office for Consumer Policy (see www.konsumentverket.se).
Sweden has an effective and non-violent promotional campaign for the sale of household goods. The consumer gets the impression that domestic goods are the best, meet production parameters that are safe for human health and environmentally friendly. Domestic agricultural products, both processed and unprocessed, enjoy the greatest trust. These are often tens of percent more expensive than imported products (primarily dairy products). The so-called eco-food enjoys considerable popularity.
The import of certain products is subject to the issuance of a license (weapons, explosives, medicines, poisons, etc.). Trade in endangered species of wildlife under the Washington Convention (CITES) is also subject to the issuance of a license or import permit.
Forms and conditions of operation on the market
The most common legal forms of presence of foreign business entities in Sweden are:
- business as a natural person (Enskild näringsidkare)
- representation – representative office
- branch office
- a subsidiary in the form of a joint stock company (Aktiebolag, AB) – a legal entity established under Swedish law; the minimum share capital is only 50 thousand SEC
- Swedish law does not recognize a special form of company with limited liability (such as in the Czech Republic or Germany), similarly to the British “Limited Copany”, a joint-stock company AB can be either private (corresponds to the British Ltd.) with non-tradable shares, or public (public, corresponds to British PLC) with publicly traded shares, but whose share capital must be at least 500,000. SEC
- trading company (handelsbolag; corresponds to the Czech vos) and limited partnership (kommanditbolag; corresponds to the Czech equivalent) whose establishment is conditional on the existence of several partners (natural or legal persons) – they are not usual for subsidiary companies.
Conditions for starting a business
The condition for establishing a subsidiary or branch is registration with the Swedish commercial register Bolagsverket and the tax office Skatteverket. A joint-stock company must appoint a board of directors, a management board and an auditor. When setting up a representative office, the scope of activities of the representative office is limited to marketing activities only. They may not run independent business activities, nor may employees act on behalf of the parent company.
A natural person – an entrepreneur must run the business long-term, independently and for the purpose of profit. The condition is reaching the age of majority (18 years) and full legal capacity. A Swedish entrepreneur-natural person can hire employees.
If you have your own Swedish electronic identification, it is possible to register your business via the e-service.
The cost of setting up an office and labor in the capital is about 20-30% higher than in other parts of Sweden. The most common form of legal personality is Aktiebolag (AB). The establishment of an AB is subject to a very simple procedure, which can be found at www.prv.se. Residents from EU and EFTA countries can establish a joint-stock company or a company with limited liability without administrative obstacles.
Marketing and communication
The promotion follows the procedures common in European countries. Forms of effective business marketing do not have to be financially demanding, e.g. advertising in the trade press or sales days organized by a local partner. Promotion of the company on the pages of newspapers and magazines or on television is the most effective, but also a very expensive form. The prices of advertising and advertising services take on different high values depending on the circulation and focus of the newspaper or magazine, location and graphic rendering of the advertisement. Advertising costs are about 3 times higher than in the Czech Republic. Recommended marketing agencies include, for example, Spoon Agency, Precis Digital, Heep or Pineberry, depending on the specific requirements and focus of the customer.
Participation in specialized fairs and exhibitions is one of the effective forms of presentation of Czech companies. Although the financial requirements for promotion are higher, the concentration of potential customers increases its effectiveness. A proven form that facilitates entry into the market even for financially weaker companies is the realization of a joint stand of PaulTrade, the embassy and interested companies under the banner of the Czech Republic at trade fairs.
Direct marketing aimed at specific purchasing managers is definitely the most effective way to reach new clients. Simply sending a promotional email is definitely not enough, it is necessary to contact the decision-maker by phone at least and request a personal presentation meeting. The PaulTrade agency’s Swedish representative office can help with the initial acquisition by identifying, approaching and arranging personal meetings within the framework of assistance services.
An effective form of promotion and presentation are national events organized by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Stockholm, usually in cooperation with the local offices of PaulTrade, the Czech Center and CzechTourism, which are attended by specific buyers from individual companies, as well as representatives of cities, regions, chambers of commerce or professional business associations.
Sweden has strict advertising regulations where all claims or statements must be verified. Misleading statements could lead to prosecution under the Marketing Practices Act. If you are expanding your business to Sweden, newspapers are an important advertising channel. The main newspapers are run from Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö and operate nationwide. Another possible form of promotion is direct mail. Until recently, television and radio were exclusively controlled by the state, but now commercial channels are also operated, and advertising is growing in broadcast media.
The use of social media and mobile communication is high. Internet penetration in Sweden is around 96%, while social media penetration is 73%. Facebook is by far the most used network followed by Pinterest and Twitter, Instagram is in fourth place. You can also consider advertising on Spotify. Spotify is Sweden’s own music streaming product and is very popular in the domestic market. 7 out of 10 Swedes listen to music on Spotify, with 4 out of 10 doing so every day. Influencers play an important role in influencing consumer purchasing decisions.
Despite a good knowledge of the English language throughout Sweden, it is not recommended to offer products and services via e-commerce without adapting to Swedish. When localizing product marketing, it is advisable to bet on native translators who know the local market. Prices, date formats, measurement methods and currency need to be localized.
Issues of intellectual property protection
In terms of intellectual property protection, the risks in Sweden are minimal. The country is part of the TRIPS agreement within the WTO, which sets minimum standards for regulating forms of intellectual property protection. Furthermore, Sweden is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which monitors protection more closely.
In Sweden, this area is dealt with by standard European legislation. Swedish companies behave correctly, the legal system respects and supports trademark protection. The representative office is not aware of any cases of fundamental legal disputes in this area, in which a Czech company would be one of the parties. The intellectual property protection agenda is the activity of the Patent and Registration Office (PRV), which publishes current information at www.prv.se.
Intellectual property rights are divided into four categories: patent rights, trademark rights, copyright and industrial design rights. Within national legislation, 113 laws/regulations and 85 international treaties regulate this issue. The issue of patents is governed by the Patent Act of 1967, including all amendments until 2020. From an international point of view, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) was signed. The patent is valid for 20 years with annual renewal fees. Trademarks are dealt with under the Trademarks Act (2010) and several international treaties. Their validity is for a period of 5 years. Copyright is governed by the Swedish Copyright Act (1993) and a number of international treaties. According to the law, the validity of the right is by default up to 70 years after the death of the author. Industrial designs are described in more detail in the Act on the Protection of (Industrial) Designs,
Public procurement market
Sweden is characterized by an effective public procurement system that is relatively advanced in its strategic dimension, including “green”, innovation and social criteria. Despite the presence of national procurement organizations at the sub-national level, it remains relatively dispersed and decentralized. Public procurement plays a significant role in the Swedish economy, in line with the relatively large size of the country’s public sector. The result is particularly significant efficiency in procurement procedures and efforts to promote competition. Both of these objectives are supported by the existence of a central purchasing authority, the National Procurement Services (NPS). Sweden is actively reducing barriers for SMEs in accessing public contracts. The participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in public procurement procedures is a priority.
Irregularities and corruption are not a significant problem in Sweden, mainly due to its highly developed and well-equipped legal and institutional frameworks.
Sweden’s e-procurement environment is well developed and achieves one of the highest uptake rates in the EU, using a mix of public and privately managed platforms. National Debt Officeuses a private platform called Visma TendSign, which claims to be the largest e-procurement provider in the northern EU countries. E-notification is mandatory and is hosted on the Avropa web portal, one of four privately run services. Electronic filing is not mandatory and is left exclusively to private service providers. In addition to e-procurement services, Sweden is very advanced in post-procurement services such as e-ordering and e-invoicing. In 2008, electronic invoicing was mandatory for all government agencies, while electronic ordering was allowed in 2013 only for agencies with more than 50 employees. However, at the local and regional level, councils and municipalities, whose overall status is independent, have
As a member of the EU, Sweden is obliged to comply with the rules of competition and public procurement. The legal norm is the so-called Public Procurement Act (Konkurrensverket), which affects the area of public procurement, fair competition and non-discrimination. Authorized entities that award public contracts can be government institutions, regional authorities, local councils and church institutions, as well as state-owned companies, associations, administrative organizations and foundations developing public benefit activities in addition to business and production activities. In the areas of water management, energy, transport and connections (supplier sectors), authorized entities can be either companies in which the government, regional authorities or local councils have direct or indirect influence, or companies,
In the event that a public contract exceeds a certain value, it is automatically subject to EU rules regarding advertising, grace periods, etc. This threshold is €200,000 for goods and services and €5 million for construction works. Exact values can be found on the Konkurrensverket website. However, public contracts that are below these limits are basically governed by the same rules as contracts that exceed them, with the only difference being that the tender process is not regulated in such detail.
Information on procurement can be obtained from the Public Procurement Board (Konkurensverket). All public contracts (i.e. government and its agencies, other central state authorities, regional and local government authorities) are centrally published through the official gazette Offentligaupphandlering.se.
Of course, significant public contracts are advertised via the EU Internet Information System on the websites www.ted.europa.eu or https://eu.eu-supply.com, which are available directly to Czech users and the Embassy does not therefore monitor it. However, in case of inquiries from Czech interested parties about specific tenders, the ZÚ can obtain detailed information from Swedish contracting authorities.
On the website of Trafikverket (the Swedish state agency responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of state roads and railways) you can find major projects currently being prepared on Swedish territory.
Payment terms, payment ethics and resolution of commercial disputes
Ways of resolving commercial disputes
The standard form of dispute resolution is arbitration, which is also common in Sweden. The Arbitration Institute operates at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, which deals with commercial disputes. All information can be found here.
The representative office emphasizes that the basis for the elimination of disputed cases is a detailed commercial contract with a precise and unambiguous formulation of delivery, payment and other conditions. Czech companies forget about the legal clause referring to the country under whose law any disputes are resolved. It is also worth insisting on the inclusion of an exchange rate clause, protecting the supplier from excessive exchange rate risk.
If there is a withholding of payment, non-payment of an invoice or a long-term delay in payment for various reasons, we recommend visiting the website www.uc.se (business and credit information). The conditions and procedure for debt collection are described, for example, at www.profinainternational.se.
Usual payment conditions, payment ethics
Swedish companies do not require non-standard payment terms. The most common payment terms are smooth payment of 30 days net or payment against documents. Payment in advance is not usual, but if it is a company that has had financial difficulties in the past, then it is desirable to make the contract conditional on this form of maximum secured payment.
Visas, fees, specific conditions for traveling to the territory
Czech citizens do not need a visa to travel to Sweden. Citizens of the Czech Republic can travel to the countries of the European Union on the basis of a valid passport or identity card. If you lose your travel document, you must contact either the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Stockholm or the Honorary Consulate in Malmö, where you will be issued a replacement travel document for the purpose of returning to the Czech Republic.
As an EU citizen, you have the right to stay in Sweden for up to 90 days without registration. If you would like to stay longer than 3 months, you must register with the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket). Registration can also be done online at www.migrationsverket.se in the “For EU/EEA Citizens” section. You can also contact the consular section of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Stockholm with questions ([email protected]).
Sweden is generally considered the most cashless country in the world. Major credit cards (some restrictions may apply to American Express) are widely accepted throughout Sweden in banks, hotels, shops, restaurants, taxis, car rentals and also for payments in public transport. Swedes use public transport often. Depending on each city’s transportation system, different types of coupons can be purchased. These are usually purchased at kiosks or information centers. Stockholm has an extensive network of underground trains (T-bana), commuter trains and buses. In summer, old trams also run from the center to the island of Djurgården. The entrances to the metro station here are marked with a blue T on a white background. More information about public transport in Stockholm, timetables and ticket information can be found at www.SL.se.
The most important airports are Malmö Airport (MMX), Gothenburg Airport (GOT), Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN) and Skavsta Airport (NYO).
From Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN), the train is the fastest, but also the most expensive transport to the center of Stockholm, Uppsala and throughout Sweden. It is possible to use the Arlanda Express connections, where the journey to the main station takes about 20 minutes and you pay from 154 to 280 Swedish crowns for the ticket. Trains run once every 15 minutes from 4:30am to 1:00am. The most frequently used transport option is Flybussarna buses for SEK 99, tickets can be purchased on the company’s website. Buses run 24 hours a day, every 15 minutes during the day. However, the journey to the center takes more than 45 minutes. The cheapest connection between the airport and the center is the new Flixbus line, when booking online it is possible to reach a price of about SEK 30.
From Skavsta Airport (NYO) to Stockholm City Terminal it is possible to travel by regular buses of Flygbussarna in 75 minutes. The connections always leave approx. 20-30 minutes (schedule) after the planes have landed. Tickets can be purchased in the terminal for SEK 139 (with a smaller discount when purchased online). An alternative can be the public transport line number 515 for 25 SEK to Nyköping and then Flixbus to Stockholm. In this case, you need to check in advance whether the connection follows the flight schedule – Flixbus runs the route only 4 times a day. Tickets can be purchased online for approx. 80 to 95 SEK.
You can find answers to questions about importing animals, medicines, weapons, food, alcohol and tobacco to Sweden on the website of the Swedish Customs Administration www.tullverket.se in the “Customs Guide” – “Bringing goods into Sweden” section. Regarding the import of pets, you can also contact the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket).
The trip to the country can be made in principle by three types of means of transport. Air transport is provided by ČSA and SAS and some low-cost companies (Norwegian). Bus transport is provided, for example, by Student Agency or Eurolines. The most convenient route by car leads from Prague to Teplice and Cínovec, then via Dresden, Berlin, Rostock, Trelleborg, Jönköping to Stockholm (E4/E20).
It is necessary to observe the prescribed speeds, violations are punishable by heavy fines. General speed limits are 50 km/h (municipalities, often also 30 km/h), 90 km/h (outside municipalities) and 110 km/h (motorways). The road network is maintained and equipped with rest stops. The main routes are equipped with fences to prevent forest animals from entering, extra attention must be paid in places where there are no fences (traffic signs with a moose pictogram) in forest sections of lower class roads.
There are recorded cases of imprisonment of Czech drivers due to the finding of alcohol in their blood while driving a motor vehicle. In this context, we appeal to drivers not to get behind the wheel after consuming an alcoholic beverage. The penalty is set at a limit of 0.02 per thousand.
In Sweden, it is mandatory to use dimming lights all year round. A number of accidents happen during horizontal sunlight (in summer, the sun shines until 11 p.m.). In the period from 1 October to 30 April, winter equipment is mandatory (winter tires or studded tyres). If the snow lies on the roads in the northern regions for longer (May, June), then it is allowed to use winter equipment even in late spring. Parking in big cities, especially in Stockholm, is strictly regulated and charged due to the excessive number of vehicles. We recommend parking in marked places and paying the specified fee. Fines for bad parking are also issued to foreigners.
There is no toll on the motorways, but in Stockholm and Gothenburg there is a toll (Trängselskatt) for entering the city on weekdays. The fee will now also apply to cars with foreign license plates. Detailed information is also available in English on the website of the Swedish Transport Authority (Transportstyrelsen) (section Congestion tax in Stockholm).
Before the trip, it is advisable to study the information intended for tourists, which is available on the official internet portals www.visitsweden.com and www.sweden.se and also on www.mzv.cz in the “Traveling” section.
Employment of citizens from the Czech Republic
Citizens of the Czech Republic, like other EU citizens, do not need a work permit to work in Sweden. An EU citizen has the right to reside in Sweden, but if he would like to stay longer than 3 months, he must register with the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket). Form No. 141011 “Registration of right of residence” is used for registration. Registration can be done a) in person at the relevant Migration Office, b) sent by post, c) online on the website of the office www.migrationsverket.se in the section “For EU/EEA Citizens” – “Online registration of right of residence”. EU citizens who only commute to Sweden for work, but who live in another EU member state and regularly return to this country (home), do not need to register their stay in Sweden.
The following must be attached to the registration: a) a copy of a valid passport or identity card, b) documents proving that the person falls into one of the following categories: 1) employee, 2) self-employed person, 3) service provider. You can find more detailed information on the individual categories on the website of the Migration Office, in the section “For EU/EEA Citizens” – “Working in Sweden – EU/EEA Citizens”. There is no registration fee. The registration document is sent by the Migration Office to an address in Sweden.
The average salary in Sweden is approximately SEK 45,100 per month. Salaries range from SEK 11,400 (lowest average) to SEK 201,000 (highest average, actual maximum salary is higher). There is no official minimum wage in Sweden.
Everyone living in Sweden is entitled to health care. The country provides universal health care for all residents, including foreign workers. The system covers the following: hospitalization, outpatient health care, prescription drugs, basic health care, dental care for children and adolescents under 18, public health and prevention services, disability support and rehabilitation services. The health care system also provides coverage for home nurses and patient transportation in addition to home health care services.
EU citizens are entitled to health care on the same conditions and prices as Swedes. You will need your European Health Card for the first 12 months in Sweden. You can then register with the Swedish tax agency (Skatteretinetinet) to obtain a Swedish citizenship number and enter the health care system.
In Sweden, healthcare is primarily organized at the county and regional level. You can start by visiting the website of your place of residence: Each municipality publishes relevant information about the possibility of health care in the area, such as hospitals and health centers. There is also a Swedish telephone health care service ( 1177 Vårdguiden ) and an umbrella website where you can find the necessary health care information. On the site, it is possible to select a preferred region and display local medical centers and hospitals based on need. The first step is to visit a general practitioner, who will then refer you to other specialists if necessary.
Healthcare in Sweden is not completely free. Basic healthcare services generally cost around SEK 110-220 (approx. EUR 11-22), depending on your region. If you pay for a visit to a specialist, you should expect a fee of around SEK 400 (approx. EUR 40). In case of hospital admission, you will need an average of SEK 120 (approx. EUR 12) per day for the first 10 days and about half of this amount for each subsequent day. Dental healthcare is not fully covered by the Swedish healthcare system, which means you will have to pay fees in line with private healthcare.
In case of an emergency, you can call the emergency service using the emergency number 112 (from a landline or a mobile phone).
Conditions and information about entitlement to social care in Sweden can be found on the website of the European Commission (also available in Czech).
Fairs and events
The largest trade fair events in Sweden can be found on the websites of the largest trade fair administrations:
- ElmiaMässan Jönköping
- Stockholm Messan
- The Mässan cyst
- Malmö Messan
- Gothenburg (Svenska Mässan)
- Luleå Expo
Comprehensive information on all ongoing trade fair events and conferences can be found on the website http://exponytt.se/.
The most important regular fair events include:
- Engineering subcontracting: ElmiaSubcontractor
- Forestry: SkogsElmia
- Construction machinery: Bygmaskiner
- Construction: Nordbygg
- Mining Industry: Euromine Expo
- Beer and spirits: Stockhom Beer
- Wine: Gothenburg Vin and Deli
- Rail industry: ElmiaNordic Rail
- Tourism: TUR
- Game Industry: Nordic Game Conference
And others (see programs of individual trade fair administrations), for example:
- Butiksleöverdung – furnishing of business premises (Kista)
- Ljud, Ljus & Bild – professional light, sound and image technology (Kista)
- Pulp & Paper – paper industry (irregular, spring)
- World Bioenergy – renewable energy sources (Jönköping, after 2 years)
- Machine Tools – machine tools, engineering technologies (Göteborg, regularly every 4 years in May)
- Trä & Teknik – wood products and technology (Jönköping, after 2 years)
- Scanautomatic – automation, manipulation, regulation (Göteborg, after 2 years)
- Miljöteknik – technology for the environment (Gothenburg, autumn)
- ScanBygg/Byggmaskiner – construction and construction machinery (Gothenburg, after 2 years)
- Elmia Agriculture Machinery and Cultivation – agricultural technology and mechanization (Jönköping)