Sweden, part of the EU market
Sweden is a member of the European Union, an economic and political union. The European Union has 27 member states and 446 million inhabitants. 19 of the 27 member states have the euro as currency. In Sweden, the currency is Swedish krona (SEK).
The European Union is a customs union with a common trade policy. This means in practice that there are no customs duties for the export/imports between the EU member states. Also, all EU member states apply the same customs duties for imports from countries outside the EU. Imported goods to one country with customs duties paid, can move around freely and sold to another country within the union. This means that the product is in free circulation. If you are successful in finding a buyer in one of the EU countries, you have access to the whole EU when it comes to distribution.
What do the distribution channels look like?
The European Union (EU) functions as a single market. Products enter the EU at entry points such as the largest European port in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, or the largest freight airport Frankfurt am Main, Germany. From these hubs the products are distributed across the EU member states, including Sweden.
For products shipped in bulk, direct imports to Sweden are more common than for lower-volume products. But also in this case, Rotterdam and Frankfurt am main, are often used as hubs. This explains why the Netherlands is Sweden’s fourth largest sourcing partner for bananas.
For smaller-volume products, such as exotics or speciality products for niche markets, it is less expensive to ship to one European hub in order to achieve enough volume to bring down shipping costs. From there, the products are further distributed by a European distributor.
Common product specific regulations in the EU
Besides applying the same duties and regulations related to import into the EU, the EU member states also apply the same product specific regulations. Products needs to live up to these rules, whether they are produced in the EU or imported into the EU. In some specific areas, there are also additional national legal requirements.
Private standards increasingly important
Over the past years, private sector initiatives have sprung up, developing their own standards for products and processes. These private certifications are playing an increasingly important role in trade. In many cases, EU importers expect, not only that a product meets the legal requirements, but also that it is certified against additional voluntary private standards.