No harm on trade, investments despite Sweden, China tension

Relations on trade and investment between China and Sweden have not been harmed despite tension over human rights issues, the Swedish Institute of International Affairs has said.

Observers said despite tension on mainly human rights matters, Beijing has not sanctioned Stockholm as trade and investment continue to boost.

The organisation said in a report on Monday that China, through its embassy in Sweden has issued more than 60 statements since 2018 accusing media, police and others of “misrepresenting” China.

The statements were prompted by issues including the plight of a detained Swedish bookseller, Gui Minhai, Beijing’s treatment of Muslims in the Xinjiang region, and a row over a group of Chinese tourists being turned away from a Stockholm hotel.

A report, titled “China’s propaganda campaign in Sweden, 2018–19”, concluded that although relations between the two countries had deteriorated, their bilateral economic ties expanded in 2018.

Chinese investment in Sweden surged last year from US$1.5 billion in 2017 to US$4.5 billion in 2018, according to data from Rhodium Group.

Chinese embassy figures showed that bilateral trade hit US$17.15 billion last year, a 15 per cent increase from 2017.

Analysts said it was very possible to do business with China while publicly disagreeing over political issues.


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