The Swedish Ambassador to the Philippines committed to strengthen the relationship of Iloilo City and Sweden through partnerships in various fields.

His Excellency Harald Fries, together with his Ilongga wife, Susan Batungbacal-Fries, visited City Hall March 22, and signified strong partnerships in terms of student exchange program, tourism, business, and job opportunities.

“One important mission I have here is to learn how Swedish businesses can connect outside Metro Manila. I like to go to other places and talk to local politicians, business people, and civil society organizations to see how we can connect,” Fries said.

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“I will bring back with me in Manila so much positive impressions that I would like to share with Swedish business community, and we will see how we can build to strengthen the relationship in terms of business, tourism, and academic student exchange,” he added.

Fries suggested that there might be software engineers as well as nurses in Iloilo who would like to work in Sweden, or Swedish retirees who would come here and live.

Fries said he was impressed with the efforts of City Government in making business easier for businessmen especially in getting permits and offering tax incentives.

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“I was here 28 years ago and I also came here one and a half years ago and there were huge changes compared to what was here in the late 80’s,” Fries noted.

Meanwhile, Fries said IKEA, a Swedish furniture and accessories company, plans to open the biggest branch in the world in Manila.
“Their ambition is to look for sites for other IKEA stores, and I will tell my friends from IKEA that they should look into Iloilo City because it is a good place for them,” Fries said. (Merianne Grace Ereñeta/Iloilo City PIO)

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