Ann Linde has changed areas of responsibility. From 10 September 2021 she is the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Minister for Foreign Trade and Nordic Affairs.


Minister for EU Affairs and Trade


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Press release from Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Swede Lars Karlsson is EU candidate in election of new WCO Secretary General


The EU Member States today selected Lars Karlsson as their joint candidate for the election of a new Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation (WCO). The WCO brings together 180 of the world’s customs administrations and has the primary task of facilitation trade and customs procedures for its members.

The election of Lars Karlsson means that Sweden, together with the European Commission and the other Member States, will now work to ensure that Lars Karlsson is elected to the position of WCO Secretary General.

"The selection of Lars Karlsson as the EU candidate is important for several reasons. Firstly, it is the Government's strategy to get more Swedes into senior positions in international organisations. Secondly, one of Lars Karlsson's top priorities is the introduction of more trade facilitation in global trade. This is important at a time when free trade is being challenged," says Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde.

One of the most important tasks for the WCO in the coming years is the implementation of the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement. This agreement, which will modernise and automate developing countries' customs administrations, is expected to reduce the cost of trading with these countries by up to 15 per cent. This will further integrate developing countries in global trade, leading to increased trade and good chances of reducing poverty.

This year and last year, the Government worked actively to get Lars Karlsson selected as the EU candidate for this election. Among other things, Sweden's EU ambassadors have approached the governments in the other EU countries to guarantee their support in the selection process.

Lars Karlsson has a background in Swedish Customs and has many years' experience of international work in this area, including as Director at the WCO. The new Secretary General will be elected at the WCO Council Meeting in summer 2018.

Press contact

Darina Agha
Press Secretary to Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00