Sweden has a long tradition of promoting free and open trade. Our prosperity as a nation has extensively been built upon our trade with the rest of the world.
The international dimension of the Swedish economy is significant and the success of our companies, at home or in international markets, ultimately depends on their ability to stay competitive in a globalised economy. In short, they need to constantly adjust, upgrade and innovate in a context of ever increasing global competition.
As trade evolves, policies and rules need to be up-dated to reflect the new trade patterns. My government is committed to working for progressive international trade agreements and to dismantle trade barriers. We will do this in a way that ensures the protection of the environment, labour interests and public health. As the Swedish experience shows, the promotion of such public policy objectives is fully compatible with open trade. The Swedish tradition of close and constructive cooperation between business and labour has been an asset in this regard.
Our trade and investment relationship with the US is extremely important. We signed our first bilateral trade agreement back in 1783, making Sweden the first neutral nation not involved in the Revolutionary War to officially recognize the young American republic. Today, the US is our biggest trading partner outside of Europe. Ultimately, our close economic ties boil down to jobs - jobs in Sweden, but also jobs in the US. It is estimated that economic interactions with Sweden support around 330 000 American jobs. In return, our National Board of Trade estimates that 140 000 jobs in Sweden are due to our economic interactions with the U.S.
The Swedish Government is committed to bringing the negotiations on a deep and comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to a successful conclusion. An ambitious TTIP agreement, which addresses the most costly barriers in transatlantic trade, holds great promise. The economic potential underlying TTIP is obvious.
These are historic negotiations - in terms of size, in terms of the potential gains, and in terms of the precedent that the partnership could set. TTIP is ambitious. And we need to be ambitious if we are to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. 2016 will be an important year, and my government will do its utmost to bring forth a successful conclusion of the negotiations.
Yesterday, I was proud to strengthen our presence in New York by opening Sweden's upgraded Consulate General in New York City. Today I will continue in Washington and meet officials from the U.S. Administration, including U.S.Trade Representative Michael Froman.
Swedish Minister for Enterprise and Innovation