Only the United States has contributed to the creation of more jobs in France.
“There is a lot of interest in France relative to a few years ago; we’re seeing an upward trend,” said Marie Eck from the Paris office of the Swedish Trade Council (Exportrådet).
The trend is confirmed by figures from the Invest in France Agency, a public authority charged with creating more job opportunities in France by attracting foreign investment.
According to the agency’s most recent report, Sweden surpassed both Germany and the UK to reach second place behind the United States in terms of investment in France, as measures by jobs and the number of investment projects.
Last year Swedish companies created or saved 4,131 French jobs.
Most of the companies backing the 32 different Swedish investment projects in France are well established in the French market.
Ikea, Volvo Trucks, SKF and Securitas are four Swedish companies which contributed in large measure to the positive figures.
However, thirteen new comers also entered the market, bringing the number of Swedish companies active in France to around 300.
“The Swedish economy is growing and as a result more money is flowing toward exports and investment. France has also simplified matters for foreign investors and is working to make France a more attractive investment destination,” said Eck.
Gilles Debuire, head of the Invest in France Agency’s Nordic office, sees other advantages in France.
“France has a well developed infrastructure which makes it possible to reach southern Europe quite quickly. Costs in France, both in terms of salaries and real estate, are also rather modest in comparison with Sweden,” he said.
Swedish exports to France are also on the rise. In 2006, exports were up 15 percent compared with the prior year, making up five percent of total Swedish exports.
Imports to Sweden from France have increased as well.
In 2006, Sweden was in thirteenth place, both as an exporter to France and an importer of French goods.