There is no better symbol of doing business than, the hand-shake.
A hand-shake symbolizes the opportunities both parties are seizing, openness and the trust, they have in each other.
Let those be the key-words of this seminar: Openness, Opportunities and Trust!
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Russia and Sweden are close neighbours and we have perhaps never had better business relations than today.
But, we can do more business with each other and thereby foster an even closer relationship. Living standards in both our countries can be improved by more trade and cooperation.
Of course, there are challenges when doing business and when doing more business — lets be open about that from the beginning.
But what need, would we have for businessmen and —women, if there were no challenges and no obstacles?
You will seek the opportunities, build trust and do business in an atmosphere of openness.
With us today are visionary and successful leaders of Swedish and Russian industry. You are a backbone of our societies, providing jobs, creating value and bringing goods and services to the marked which make our lives better.
Creativity and innovation are best fostered where each and every individual is seen, and allowed to flourish.
There are representatives from Government here today. You play an important role in creating the right conditions for entrepreneurship and innovation, trade and commerce.
Not least, is the task of Government, to create a legal system which is transparent and, in which we can put our trust. The rule of law is, of course, the most important element of successful trade and investment.
Rule of law is the ultimate handshake between the state and the citizen.
I think we have an excellent basis from which, we can further promote business links between Sweden and Russia. Our trade is strong, and Sweden is a large investor in Russia.
But, I think there are still many untapped opportunities, and that is why we are here today.
The growth of the Russian economy can be noticed, also in Sweden, not least, because of the stream of Russian tourists in Stockholm.
Russia's membership of the WTO — creates new and promising opportunities for our economic co-operation.
I think that, in the perspective of history, we are only at the beginning of a new golden age of business relations between Sweden and Russia.
There will be even more hand-shakes between us in the future.
With that as an introduction — Opportunities, Trust and Openness — I hereby declare the Sweden Russia Business Forum open.