The post-war merchandise trade of Sweden, with particular emphasis on trade with the United States
Larson, Robert B
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The main purpose of this thesis is to examine the development of Sweden's foreign trade, especially with the United States, during the post-war period. Before undertaking the exploration of the main purpose, several other aspects should be examined first. The first thing to look into is the internal situation of Sweden. Sweden is located in Europe and is one of the northern countries known as Scandinavia. The population of the country is small and homogeneous. Although her government is a monarchy, Sweden is known for her democratic traditions. The basis for her economy are the forest and the iron and steel industries. Over the years these two industries have promoted the economic development of the country. The engineering, electrical, and shipbuilding industries have become important and have made the economy more diversified. In order to diversify the economy further, large sums of money are being invested in chemical, textile, industrial art, and tourist industries. Although Sweden occupies the position as a highly advanced country, no inclination to rest on this laurel exist. A constant search for new methods of making the country even more progressive is continually going on. Although Sweden did not participate in World War II, she suffered the effects that came when the war ended. Because of her small size, Sweden is dependent, to a great extent, on foreign trade. Foreign trade was greatly dislocated because of the war. During the early part of the post-war period, most of these countries used up their gold and dollar resources to obtain materials to rebuild their economies. Although this dollar shortage began to improve in 1952, a need to conserve dollars still exist. Many new restrictions were placed in the path of freer trade. The greatest of these was the separation of the Soviet-bloc nations. Numerous attempts were made to overcome these restrictions, but no clearcut plan was developed. Sweden was faced with the prospect of rebuilding her foreign trade in a market that was torn apart. Imports into the country increased to the point where they completely outbalanced the export trade. In order to change this situation, heavy restrictions were placed on imports especially from the dollar areas. Sweden's reserves of dollars had decreased to a danger point. Strict controls were placed on the use of foreign exchange. By 1948 , some of the war devastated areas had been rebuilt to a point where they had the ability to resume a larger part in Sweden's foreign trade. Because of this, Sweden was able to shift her trade from the dollar areas to other areas in the world. The foreign exchange reserve was rebuilt, but there still remained a great danger that the foreign trade situation would become difficult again. The United States supplied most of the goods that Sweden needed during the first years of the post-war period which was one of the reasons why Sweden's foreign exchange reserves deteriorated. While imports from the United States increased at a rapid pace, Sweden's exports to this country increased at a very slow pace. This situation eventually forced Sweden to decrease her imports from America and look to other areas for her purchases. The United States had occupied a fairly high position in Sweden's foreign trade during the prewar period, but this changed during the post-war period. By 1952, the United States was providing a smaller percentage of Sweden's imports and, at the same time, obtaining a smaller percentage of Sweden's exports. Sweden experienced difficulties in selling products to the United States that, prior to the war, had been in great demand. The effects of the war were clearly shown in the trade of these two countries. The reduction in trade between Sweden and the United States was definitely not what the Swedish government wanted. Many difficulties in selling goods on the American market still exist. One of the greatest obstacles is the tariff barrier erected by the American government. Goods that would have a great demand in this country are kept out. If the tariff was liberalized to the same level as Sweden's tariff , then more goods could be sold here. With these increased dollar earnings, Sweden then would be in the position of being able to purchase more American goods. Definite hopes of expanding trade between these two countries still exist, but it is up to the United States Congress to take the first step. It is for our own benefit, as well as Sweden's benefit that we should remove obstacles in the path of trade expansion.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University