3 quick questions for Linda Lundberg-Nilsson, CEO of the Norrbottens Handelskammare, Sweden’s northernmost and second oldest, founded in 1904. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs and has extensive experience in export trade but also in working at multinationals. Six years ago, Linda became CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, which is highly involved in the green reindustrialization that is transforming Swedish business and society. In this role, she has also hosted trade delegations from Sri Lanka.
1. What are the main tasks of the Norrbotten Chamber of Commerce?
Given our geographical location, infrastructure issues are top priority. We work intensively on advocacy to shorten distances to our members’ main markets on the continent. A concrete example is the extension of the Scanmed corridor from Sicily and Stockholm to Luleå and the ice-free harbor in Narvik, Norway. This issue has become even more important in recent years for geopolitical reasons. The next area is skills development. We will receive 100,000 global talents in northern Sweden the coming years. Facilitating migration from third countries is crucial to our success. The third area is international trade. Through our global network of 12,000 international chambers of commerce, we help companies expand their business by internationalizing and reaching new markets.
2. What are the region of Norrbotten’s main assets?
We are very well positioned for the radical transformation of Swedish society and industry that we are about to undertake. We have great resources of ore and minerals, raw materials that are necessary for the electrification of society’s transport system but also in constructions such as wind turbines. Norrbotten is an export intense region with a resource-based economy and a large primary industry sector such as timber, mining and minerals. Norrbotten has also been the backbone of Swedish hydropower for more than 100 years. We further have world-leading research and companies in wood construction, green steel, IT and tourism.
3. How can trade with Sri Lanka increase?
We have already received the first trade delegations from Sri Lanka and we welcome more, not least from the Sri Lankan IT sector. We want to contribute to concrete business but there is work to be done before we meet. Business leaders must have done their homework and understand that there are many opportunities in Norrbotten, but that the competition is global. This requires clear decisions to invest strategically – it is costly to make mistakes. The requirements specification also needs to be clear. Do you want to establish a subsidiary, an agent, or a retailer? This systematic approach applies regardless of whether it is about importing to Norrbotten or exporting to Sri Lanka. And finally, we would like to see many of the global talents that we will welcome in the coming years come from Sri Lanka.