PUTRAJAYA: International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed has called on Malaysian business community to invest in Sweden as there are no Malaysian companies operating there although there are about 120 Swedish companies in Malaysia.
He said "Sweden Malaysia Innovation Days 2013" (SMID), which centres on dialogue and focuses on business and innovation-related issues, is an important platform as it enables locals to learn all about innovation and sustainability from established and leading Swedish industry players.
SMID's objective is also to bring about new ideas in promoting strategic initiatives and collaboration between Sweden and Malaysia.
"In today’s globalised innovation landscape, a collaborative approach is required to drive innovation as the engine that spurs economic growth. This openness will begin to address the gap between innovation-rich and innovation-developing countries, enhancing industry competitiveness and boosting overall economic development," Mustapa said in his speech at the launch of SMID here, yesterday.
The minister said last year, total trade between Malaysia and Sweden amounted to RM3.4 billion. As of July 2013, Malaysia's total trade with Sweden has already reached RM1.9 billion, he said.
Ten Swedish companies are involved in the three-day SMID, namely Alfa Laval, BAE System Bofors, Bromma, Cale Access, SAAB, Scania, SKF, Tetra Pak, Transmode and Volvo Trucks.
Meanwhile, Swedish State Secretary for Trade, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Gunnar Oom said investing in Sweden opens up a larger door to the Nordic countries which comprises Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, a market which is bigger than Russia.
"Innovation is an important driver of growth globally. Swedish companies and organisations are constantly striving to increase innovation capabilities in order to increase growth and competitiveness," he said.
Oom added that the Malaysian government envisions the need for companies to believe that innovation is able to drive productivity and quality, and this holds the key to building competitiveness, helps expand their business, increases their profitability and enhances their efforts to build markets the world over.
"The SMID 2013, which is a partnership with Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM), aims to create a positive environment for Swedish companies to forge strategic alliances and collaborations with the Malaysian government as well as private companies in Malaysia," he said at the event.
Also present were Swedish ambassador to Malaysia Bengt G Carlsson, the ministry's Deputy Secretary General of Trade Mohd Ridzal Sheriff and AIM chief executive officer Mark Rozario.
Rozario said SMID is a strategic event that provides a platform to enhance efforts in nurturing open and collaborative innovation between Sweden industry players and local stakeholders.
"It is an opportunity to jointly create an effective innovation eco-system. It is hoped that the Swedish and Malaysian partners will prosper from technological advantage, knowledge transfer and development for businesses on both sides.
"This initiative certainly leads to substantial economic, intellectual and societal benefits for all towards raising the national income as well as increasing the standard of living of the people”, he said in his speech.