New export strategy to emphasize human rights
This spring, Sweden's center-left government will be designing a new export strategy focusing on sustainability and human rights.
In this export plan, Sweden will prioritize 26 new countries, which are expected to enjoy high economic growth, but which also have less economic freedom, reports news agency TT.
The government will direct its efforts towards dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Kazakhstan, which Transparency International ranked as one of the world's most corrupt countries, is also on the list of prioritized countries, according to newspaper Dagens Nyheter.
"We believe that trade and contact with countries are a way to promote human rights. What we're doing now, as opposed to the previous government, is that we’re going to raise issues of sustainable entrepreneurship and human rights to a whole other level," said Minister for Enterprise, Mikael Damberg (Social Democrat), to the newspaper.
Damberg said it was important for Swedish companies to get help and support in terms of how to act, so that they don’t make mistakes, and so when they come home, they can say they acted responsibly.
“It's important for us that this goes hand in hand, that people don't just believe they can turn out goods and then disregard questions like human rights and sustainability,” said Damberg.
Damberg believes that "when Swedish companies are in tough markets, they also spread a culture that's different from the country they're operating in.”
In his view, this contributes to openness and also demonstrates alternatives ways for things to work.