Sweden: A Hidden Gem for Caribbean Trade and Investment

This week, I had the distinct pleasure of connecting with the Swedish Ambassador, Anders Bengtcén, and exploring potential trade bridges between the Caribbean and Sweden. My initial meeting with Amb. Bengtcén at the awarding of the Swedish Foreign Service Medal to Honorary Consul Titti Kerr sparked a fruitful follow-up discussion on fostering stronger trade ties together with our Senior Advisor for Competitiveness and Export Promotion, Natasha Edwin-Walcott.

Sweden presents an interesting opportunity for some Caribbean businesses seeking new trade and investment opportunities. Trade between CARIFORUM and Sweden is governed by the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and has steadily increased over the period 2018-2022. As shown in the table below, the International Trade Centre (ITC) Trade Map reports that merchandise trade between CARIFORUM and Sweden increased by approximately 256% between 2018 and 2022. Albeit small quantities in the steady increase is encouraging.

In our meeting we explored our experiences of success with niche Caribbean products like Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, Haitian cocoa, and Belizean turmeric at international trade shows like SIAL Paris, ANUGA, and the UK’s Speciality and Fine Food Fair. These triumphs highlighted the potential for Caribbean offerings in the Swedish market with the right market intelligence and cooperation.

Consumer trends in Sweden offer exciting opportunities for Caribbean businesses:

  • Sustainability-conscious: Swedish consumers prioritize environmentally friendly products and ethical sourcing. Caribbean producers focused on sustainable practices can resonate with this value-driven market.
  • Early adopters: Swedes are known for their tech-savviness and openness to new trends. Caribbean businesses with innovative and tech-enabled solutions can find a receptive audience.
  • Quality over quantity: Swedes value quality over low prices. Caribbean products known for their unique flavours and craftsmanship can appeal to this discerning market.

As we embark on our upcoming programming to continue supporting Caribbean producers look out for opportunities to participate once again at SIAL Paris and also Vitafoods Europe in Barcelona.

Beyond trade, we also discussed leveraging Sweden’s renowned technological expertise, particularly in engineering. Our upcoming Caribbean Investment Forum in Guyana (July 10-12, 2024) will focus on three key areas where Swedish investment can significantly impact our economies: digital transformation, green economy transition, and sustainable agriculture.

Building stronger ties with Sweden can unlock significant benefits for both sides. By understanding consumer trends and leveraging the expertise of both regions, we can create a win-win situation that fuels economic growth and prosperity.

Are you a Caribbean business owner looking to tap into the Swedish market? Let’s explore the possibilities together!

Table: CARIFORUM Exports to Sweden 

 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 
CARIFORUM Aggregate 19,591 42,962 51,375 56,009 69,786 
Antigua and Barbuda  
The Bahamas 275 130 2,220 
Barbados  380 410 199 331 720 
Belize  14 
Dominican Republic 96,111 56,215 70,323 110,923 73,533 
Guyana 18 12 
Haiti  nd nd   nd nd  nd  
Jamaica  43 11 89 
Saint Lucia  nd nd  
St. Kitts and Nevis   nd nd   nd nd  nd  
St. Vincent and the Grenadines  239 
Suriname 307 34 
Trinidad and Tobago 135 2,766 6,680 7,136 17,708 

Source: ITC Trade Map 

Units: USD thousand