Scandinavia, a region that includes in a broad sense Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, constitutes a stable, growing market area, which offers many opportunities for foreign enterprises, because of their great purchasing power, as well as for their geographical advantages and for their outsourcing processes, linked to new technologies, services and tourism.
Although only Sweden, Finland and Denmark are part of the European Union (and only Finland has adopted the European single currency), Norway and Iceland are members of the Schengen area of free movement and of the European Economic Area (EEA), which in practice implies the absence of border controls for goods and people between these countries and the rest of Europe.
The commercial bilateral relations of these Nordic countries with Spain have an extended tradition and their societies are economically close. The exchange of goods and services intensifies especially after the entry of Spain into the European Union and today these States are trade partners with a high degree of consolidation. Nevertheless, the trade balance is still clearly negative for Spain, which buys more from Scandinavia than Scandinavia buys from Spain.
With regard to the value of their trade transactions, Sweden is Spain’s first partner, with € 1,814 million in exports in 2012 and € 2,248 million in imports. It is followed by Norway, with € 955 million in exports and 1,812 million in imports during the same year. Denmark is in the third place: € 1,214 million in exported products and services and € 1,585 imported. Lastly, Spain exports annually to Finland the equivalent in value to € 600 million euro, while imports from there amount to about € 900 million.
The sectors with potential to develop opportunities for Spanish enterprises in Scandinavia are varied. Spain is a benchmark in environment, sustainable development and clean energy and this does not go unnoticed in Scandinavia: there are multiple ways of established cooperation between enterprises of both parts.
Much attention needs to be paid to public demand, both at the state and municipal levels, because of the extensive net of public enterprises in the Scandinavian sectors of transportation, telecommunication or naval weaponry.
The potential of private demand is equally important in these countries which, while not having large populations (the most populated Scandinavian country is Sweden, with less than 10 million inhabitants), enjoy great purchasing power. Among the products with the highest potential for private use there are motor vehicles, electrical appliances, cosmetics, fruits and vegetables, fashion or wine. The Scandinavian consumer is ready to pay a little more in exchange of better quality and in this sense is much less price sensitive than in other markets, like the Baltic ones.
In addition to being attractive markets for many Spanish products, the Scandinavian countries also offer important opportunities in the areas of tourism (Spain is their first holiday destination in Southern Europe) and in those labor-intensive, as the outsourcing of services, because the very high Scandinavian labor costs bring their companies to look for more competitive solutions in other relatively close environments.