(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Vice President Biden,
Mr Governor, Mayors and Distinguished Representatives of Delaware, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends of Sweden, Finland and the United States
After a dangerous voyage across the Atlantic, on board the ship Kalmar Nyckel, the first Swedish and Finnish settlers arrived near today's Wilmington in March 1638. They arrived at what have since then become Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, and established the settlement of New Sweden.
They came in search of trade, 375 years ago.
Of course they were not aware, but these early migrants planted the seeds of a deep-rooted partnership among our countries: Sweden, Finland and the United States, a partnership that continues to flourish to this day.
Today we are celebrating the courage and the spirit of those first settlers.
The churches they built still stand in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, as a sign of their contributions here on the east coast. But also, the log cabin – an innovation that became THE symbol of the American frontier – was introduced to North America by these early Swedes.
However, their colony did not last for a long time, but it marked the beginning of now nearly four centuries of strong ties between our countries.
And trade, once again has played a central role throughout history.
In 1783, a Treaty of Amity and Trade was signed by Sweden and the young United States of America. The Queen and I had the privilege of seeing the first treaty at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC two days ago.
Today we are therefore not only celebrating a 375th anniversary, but also the 230 years since this first Treaty was signed.
Today, more than four million Americans claim Swedish ancestry. And almost every Swede can tell you of someone in his or her family who migrated to United States.
I dare to say that the important contributions of these Swedish immigrants to the United States of America could always be emphasized and recognized.
A number of these Swedes reached high ranks and positions in the young North American nation.
John Hanson was President of the United States in Congress Assembled. John Morton was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Others fought in the war for independence from the British.
I think that all of those early immigrants shared the same values: hard work, strong faith and a belief in the opportunities of their new homeland. And also, they became a vital part of the United States of America.
Today's relation- and partnership between Sweden and the United States is bound by these same values.
We share the same interest in addressing the most critical challenges in an ever-changing global environment. The United States and Sweden share a vision of a world defined by peace, security, and respect for human rights.
Together, we address climate change and air pollution through international organizations such as the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, and the Arctic Council.
Sweden and Finland are both members of the European Union. Together, we contribute to a strong transatlantic relationship between Europe and the United States.
This year, 2013, can now be added to the list of historic years along with 1638 and 1783 - because this year the European Union and the United States will start negotiations to create a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
The EU and the U.S. together account for nearly half of the global GDP and almost one third of world trade. On a daily basis, a staggering 2.7 billion dollars' worth of trade flows over the Atlantic, between the two of us.
But, let's not forget that we have a business story with a long tradition.
Many of the Swedes who migrated to the U.S. became successful entrepreneurs. The most famous was maybe John Ericsson, the inventor who built an efficient propeller in 1839, and then in 1862, he designed the ship “Monitor" that is said to have turned the tide of the American Civil War.
Look behind the Greyhound bus, the Coca Cola bottle and the zipper and you will find Swedes. Famous American trademarks such as Walgreens, Nordstrom and Carlson Wagonlit Travel were founded by - you guessed it – Swedes.
To map the good business relationship between our countries and to celebrate the 375 years – and the 230 years – I am happy to note that Sweden is one of the biggest investor countries in the U.S.
It all started with trade. And trade will continue to be at the core of our relationship. With a transatlantic common marketplace we will be able to create prosperity for our people on both sides of the ocean.
In pursuit of a better tomorrow, our interests are very closely connected. Our countries are also highly effective partners in addressing global challenges.
In that way, we also honour the legacy of the early settlers and immigrants in the New Sweden colony. They could hardly have known that New Sweden would give birth to the vibrant, dynamic and rewarding relationship that the United States, Sweden and Finland enjoy today, 375 years later.
Therefore, Mr Vice-President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to propose a toast recognizing the years of 1638 and 1783, but also 2013, and a prosperous future.