Sweden is the largest country in Scandinavia. It borders to Norway in the west and Finland in the northeast. In terms of area, Sweden is the 55th largest country in the world and 3rd largest in Europe. In terms of population Sweden is a rather small country, with around 9,5 million inhabitants.
Sweden is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy. The current monarch of Sweden is King H.M. Carl XVI Gustaf. The people are represented at national level by the Riksdag which consists of one chamber with 349 members, and which has legislative power. The Government implements the Riksdag's decision and draws up proposals for new laws or law amendments. General elections are held every four years.
In the 2010 general election the Moderate Party, allied with the Centre party, Liberal People’s party, and the Christian Democrats, with a common political platform, won enough votes to form a minority government.
The official Swedish economic policy focuses on stable central government finances and the Swedish central bank, the Riksbank, focuses on low inflation and price stability.
More than half of everything manufactured in Sweden is exported.
Sweden is an export oriented market economy. More than half of everything manufactured in Sweden is exported. Traditionally, the Swedish business and industry sector has been commodity-based. Paper, iron and steel are still important products but the main competitive factor today is knowledge and the flexible use of existing tangible and intangible resources.
Public sector and taxes
Sweden has a large public sector with ambitious healthcare, educational and childcare systems. Therefore, a distinguishing feature of the Swedish tax system in international terms is high income taxes, even on very low incomes. This is due to very low basic allowance. Also, the highest marginal taxes in Sweden, the percentage paid on the last krona, is about 57 percent and occurs at a, internationally speaking, low pay level.
A distinguishing feature of the Swedish tax system in international terms is high income taxes, even on very low incomes.
In relative terms, Sweden’s business sector is smaller than the EU and OECD averages, whereas the public sector accounts for a larger share of GDP than in otherwise comparable industrialized countries.
The Swedish economy has undergone some fundamental changes during the last 15-20 years. One of the most important change is new organizational structures in the business sector, larger foreign ownership and less production in Sweden. It is especially “simpler” production that has been moved to countries with lower labour costs. The increased foreign ownership further strengthens Sweden’s economic dependency on other countries. Other important changes is a new basic IT-technology that permeates the whole society and strengthens the role that knowledge capital plays in competitiveness.
- Capital: Stockholm
- Area: 450 000 km2 = 174 000 sq.mi.
- Language: Swedish
- Prime Minister: Mr. Fredrik Reinfeldt (Moderate Party)
- Population: 9 550 000 (November 2012)
- Member of the EU since 1995
- Member of a number of international organizations such as WTO and OECD.
- Most important export goods: Electrical and telecom equipment, machinery, passenger cars, paper, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel.
- Most important import goods: Electrical and telecom equipment, machinery, foodstuffs, crude oil, textile products, footwear, passenger cars.
- Most important export and import markets: Europe, North America and Asia.