Crown Princess Opens Full-Time Swedish Consulate Office, Signs Climate Change Cooperation Letter with Governor

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, accompanied by her husband, His Royal Highness Prince Daniel, opened a full-time consulate office in San Francisco on February 20.

The consulate will be headed by newly appointed Consul General Anna Lekvall. Longtime Honorary Swedish Consul General Barbro Osher had promoted the concept of full-time representation for many years.

Earlier in the day, the Swedish delegation, including Their Royal Highnesses, met with Governor Gavin Newsom at the Stanford Mansion in Sacramento for the signing of a Letter of Cooperation between Sweden and California.

(From left) Their Royal Highnesses Prince Daniel and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Governor Gavin Newsom and Johan Forssell, Sweden’s Minister for International Development, Cooperation and Foreign Trade.

CalChamber Attendees

Representing the California Chamber of Commerce at the signing were Jennifer Barrera, CalChamber president and CEO; Sima Patel, CEO of Ridgemont Hospitality and chair of the CalChamber Council for International Trade; and Susanne Stirling, CalChamber vice president for international affairs.

The Lieutenant Governor of California, Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis welcomed the approximately 40 dignitaries to the Stanford Mansion.

Speaking next, Johan Forssell, Sweden’s Minister for International Development, Cooperation and Foreign Trade, referenced the 140 Swedish companies in California creating 44,000 jobs and the role Sweden plays on the start-up scene.

Minister Forssell stated that the Letter of Cooperation, which renews a climate partnership established between the two economies in 2017, will deepen relations between Sweden and California, creating a more solid foundation that equals more jobs and innovation.

On a broader and federal level, Minister Forssell also called for more free trade agreements and more trade, thereby making both economies more reliable.

Climate Change

Regarding climate change, Minister Forssell said, “Five or 10 years ago in Sweden, the green transition was basically something that we need to do. Today is slightly different. It’s still something that we need to do, but it’s also something that we want to do because we see all the economic opportunities here.”

Governor Newson continued on the theme of climate change issues in his remarks. The Letter of Cooperation, he said, addresses the opportunity for collaboration and knowledge sharing within several areas key to climate action, including the green transition, electrification of the transport sector, carbon pricing, the circular economy, and climate-smart agriculture.

Also attending the signing of the Letter of Cooperation were First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom; Dee Dee Myers, director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz); Governor’s Climate Adviser Lauren Sanchez; and Liane Randolph, chair of the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

The Swedish side included Their Royal Highnesses, the Swedish Ambassador and U.S. Ambassador, the new Swedish Consul General to San Francisco, as well as the Honorary Consul General and representatives from the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce. The Swedish delegation also visited the greater Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

Trade Statistics

Sweden is a high-income country in Northern Europe and covers an area slightly larger than California. Sweden has a population of 10.6 million people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $591.71 billion. Sweden has one of the highest standards of living in the world with a strong capitalist system and welfare state. Sweden is one of the 27 countries in the European Union.

The United States is one of Sweden’s largest export destinations. The United States imported $18.4 billion worth of Swedish goods in 2023.

The key imported goods from Sweden into the United States were transportation equipment, chemicals, non-electrical machinery, and computer and electronic products.

Sweden is the 39th largest export destination for goods for the United States. In 2023, the United States exported $8.6 billion worth of products to Sweden. The main exports included chemicals, oil and gas, transportation equipment, and computer and electronic products.

California is one of the largest importers of Swedish goods. In 2023, California imported $587 million worth of goods from Sweden — including transportation equipment, chemicals, computer and electronic products, miscellaneous manufactures, and non-electrical machinery.

Sweden is California’s 35th largest export destination. California exported $594 million of products to Sweden in 2023. The key exports from California were computer and electronic goods, chemicals, miscellaneous manufactured commodities, transportation equipment, and beverages and tobacco.

Staff Contact: Susanne T. Stirling

Previous articleCal/OSHA Passes Aggressive Update to Lead Regulation
Next articleReport Finds Private Attorneys General Act Too Slow to Resolve Employee Claims
Susanne T. Stirling, vice president, international affairs, has headed CalChamber international activities for more than four decades. She is an appointee of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the National Export Council, and serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce International Policy Committee, the California International Relations Foundation, and the Chile-California Council. Originally from Denmark, she studied at the University of Copenhagen and holds a B.A. in international relations from the University of the Pacific, where she served as a regent from 2012 to 2021. She earned an M.A. from the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California.