Sweden is set to send its largest businessmen delegation to do business in the Philippines despite President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial foreign policy pivot.
Also, Sweden is going to reopen its embassy in Manila after closing down last 2008 due to budget cuts and after they recognized that the Philippines is one of the region's fastest-growing economies in the world.
Harald Fries, Sweden's ambassador-designate, said the success of Swedish brands like H&M in the country indicates that famous home accessories and furniture chain Ikea and Volvo Buses are not far behind from being launched here.
He also added that no Swedish company is hesitant to do business in the country despite Duterte's controversial foreign policy stance.
“Actually, there are more and more companies signing up,” Fries said.
Saab Group, a Swedish business, is scheduled to inaugurate its office at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City on November 9.
“The concern [about the Philippines]is there but more specifically on the human rights situation, and I haven’t heard from the business sector that this translates into [loss of interest in]doing business,” Fries said.
He added that Swedish businessmen “know the fundamentals here” and the issues in the Philippines will not affect their business plans.
“When I read the papers here, some chambers of commerce have expressed that if this continues, it could have an effect on business interest. But I haven’t seen it in my conversation with [Swedish] companies,” the Swedish diplomat said.