(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Distinguished Chinese and Swedish guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Friends of Sweden!
It is my honour and pleasure to stand before you today on Sweden's National Pavilion Day at the World Expo in Shanghai. Sweden has supported the plans for a World Expo in Shanghai for a long time, and we are pleased that it has become such a success. In fact, my first visit to a World Expo ever was in Osaka, Japan, in 1970.
I wish to congratulate the organizers of the Expo on this day.
your country has put huge efforts into organizing this event. And the expectations on the Expo – the largest in world history – are high. But as we can see, you have managed!
The theme of the 2010 Shanghai World is the challenges of sustainable urban development. How do we create better cities and a better life? These issues face us all over the world, and the topic is one that truly deserves our combined efforts. The 2010 Shanghai World Expo will be an important forum for our common work toward a more sustainable future.
The theme of the Expo – "BetterCity , Better Life" – suits Sweden well. We have a long experience when it comes to solutions and ideas on sustainable urban living.
In our view, the best results to the issues facing us can be retrieved among innovations and collaboration. This is what we would like to call the Swedish "Spirit of Innovation," which is also the theme of our Pavilion. Swedish innovations come out of teamwork, playfulness and respect for every individual. This has resulted in Swedenbeing ranked as one of the most innovative countries in the world.
Sweden's Spirit of Innovation is our contribution to the Expo Theme of "BetterCity, Better Life." The future well-being of our planet and of our society depends on our ability to create the best possible conditions for innovation, communication and sustainability.
Sweden's participation in the World Expo is among the biggest collective Swedish projects ever taken on abroad. The government, private sector, regions, organizations, universities and artists in Sweden have all offered their know-how of innovation to shape our presence here in Shanghai. Many of these partners and supporters are here today, and this national pavilion day should also be a celebration of their efforts and contributions.
As many of you already know, this year Sweden and China celebrate sixty years of diplomatic relations. But trade and contacts between Sweden and China has been going on for hundreds of years, starting in the 18th century when ships set sail from Göteborg on the Swedish west coast to Canton, named Guangzhou, in southern China.
China is Sweden's number one trading partner in Asia, and around 400 Swedish companies are present in China. Some of these companies have been here for over one hundred years. For example – Ericsson sold its first Chinese telephone switch in Shanghai in 1892.
Two-thirds of Sweden's total exports to China go to the eastern part of the country with Shanghai as the hub. This clearly shows the strong connections between Sweden and China – and Shanghai in particular. We hope to be able to manifest this during the six months of the Expo.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express my sincere hope that this Expo will be a platform for deepening and further improving the relations between China and all of Swedish society.