Volume VI | August 2021
Biden visits Volvo's Mack factory, Interview with CEO Karen Tramontano at BlueStar Strategies, SACC DC Open Golf Tournament Oct 14, SSAB launches 1st fossil-free steel, and more!
Since 1989 SACC-DC has offered a platform for developing U.S. – Swedish lucrative commercial ventures and professional opportunities through our network and business and social events. The SACC-DC Newsletter will help you stay on top of what’s happening in the Swedish-American business community and find the perfect opportunity to create new business connections in the greater Washington D.C. area and Mid-Atlantic region.
From the Executive Director
Dear Friends,
I hope you are enjoying these last days of summer. The fall is usually the busiest time for us at SACC DC with our 3 flagship events - the Crayfish Party, the SACC DC Open and the Holiday Party. When planning for 2021, we did not know what the fall would look like. Winter and spring came, U.S. were well ahead in getting vaccines distributed compared to the rest of the world, and for a while it looked like we would be able to hold the crayfish party in September under somewhat normal conditions.

Despite the cancelled crayfish party, we do have a busy fall ahead and hope that no hurricanes are passing through on October 14 when we - for the 33rd consecutive year- host the SACC DC Open. The event is only 7 weeks away, and our Golf Committee with ABB's Jim Creevy as their fearless leader, have been hard at work to make it a fun and memorable experience, so make sure to secure your ticket today!

We are also excited to share that our corporate member and law firm Pillsbury are inviting interested companies to a SACC DC webinar on "U.S. Infrastructure Opportunities for Non-US Companies and Buy America Challenges" on September 14. More details are available below under Upcoming Events and Webinars, and soon in our event calendar. If your company wants an invite to this targeted event, please get in touch with julia.jager@sacc-dc.org.

Among our members, there are always exciting news to share. Please reach out if you have any developments or news that you would like to share with our community. Disclaimer: If you do get a visit from the President of the United States, you do not need to reach out to us to be featured, we will make sure it is mentioned here :)

Remember, we are always eager to hear from our members how we can be of service to you, so please do not hesitate to connect or come by for coffee at our office at House of Sweden.

Yours truly,
Our corporate member Volvo Group had a special visitor at their Mack Trucks facility in PA on July 28
“This is a great day for Mack and an opportunity to highlight for President Biden the great work we are doing here and the quality of our people and products,” Jonathan Miller, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, and SACC-DC board member, said

Mack recently completed an $84 million investment in plant improvements at LVO, which included the insourcing of chassis assembly, the addition of new equipment, and a 300,000-square-foot expansion of the facility. The plant upgrades were completed in 2020. LVO currently employs more than 2,500 people and plans to hire up to 400 more this year.

Every heavy-duty class 8 Mack truck built for the North American market is assembled at its Mack Lehigh Valley Operations facility in Macungie, PA.

Class 7 and 6 Mack trucks are built at the Roanoke Valley Operations facility in Roanoke, VA. Engines, transmissions, and rear axles for the North American market are manufactured at its powertrain facility in Hagerstown, MD.

LVO and its workers assembling Mack’s first fully electric Class 8 vehicle are on the "cutting edge of the change that's going to be taking place in the next 10 years," Biden said. The President also talked about the Buy American Act. His plan would increase U.S.-content requirements for products the federal government buys. "Right here on this factory floor, you’re making a product that’s fighting climate change. These trucks behind me are going to carry this economy forward. So today I’m placing my bet on America. I know you all are going to make sure it pays off, because it will pay off.''
“Today, I’m here to talk about a commitment that’s sacred to me and central to our efforts to keep things moving. It’s a straightforward solution: support and grow more American-based companies. Put more Americans to work in union jobs. Strengthen American manufacturing and secure critical supply chains. And confront the climate crisis." -President Joe Biden.

Mack is part of the Volvo Group, Founded in 1900, Mack trucks are sold and serviced in nearly 30 countries worldwide. We are one of North America’s largest manufacturers of medium-duty trucks, heavy-duty trucks, proprietary engines and transmissions.

The Volvo Group drives prosperity through transport and infrastructure solutions, offering trucks, buses, construction equipment, power solutions for marine and industrial applications, financing and services that increase our customers’ uptime and productivity. Founded in 1927, the Volvo Group is committed to shaping the future landscape of sustainable transport and infrastructure solutions. The Volvo Group is headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, employs nearly 100,000 people and serves customers in more than 190 markets. Volvo Group North America, with headquarters in Greensboro, NC, employs approximately 16,300 people in North America and operates 15 manufacturing and remanufacturing facilities in Canada, Mexico and the United States. In 2020, the Volvo Group’s global net sales amounted to about $36.8 billion. North America is a major market for the Volvo Group, representing about 24% of our total 2020 sales. Volvo shares are listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. For more information, please visit www.volvogroup.com
Member Spotlight: Karen Tramontano from Blue Star Strategies  
We had the great opportunity to interview Karen Tramontano, the Co-Founder, and CEO of Blue Star Strategies. Karen Tramontano has a long and fascinating experience with government relations. Her portfolio encompassed various issues, including international trade, transatlantic relations, and economic and financial matters concerning the World Trade Organization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund. Karen has also served in the Clinton administration as Deputy Chief of Staff. 

Tell us about Blue Star Strategies and your areas of expertise.  
Sally Painter and I founded Blue Star Strategies in 2009 in the midst of the recession. It was a risk, but we knew that the only way to succeed was reaching for the top – and from there, it took off!   

Blue Star Strategies is a government affairs firm primarily representing government-regulated international companies in the U.S. and U.S. companies abroad. Our expertise and what we have to offer our clients is a deep understanding and knowledge of how governments work, how they make decisions, and how to positively influence governments and their policy processes. We work with companies across all sectors, which gives us a unique position in the market.   

Our clients always know about their own company, the products and services they provide, and how they do it - we come in when they need to learn how to move the government and policies towards the right regulatory decision. We provide client services for companies to unlock their political, policy, investment, and resource challenges in the United States.  

What is your connection to SACC-DC?   
Our first connection with SACC-DC was at the annual SACC Summit when I was asked to discuss U.S. politics and the upcoming election. After that, we remained engaged, became members, and now Jesica, our General Counsel at Blue Star Strategies, serves on the SACC-DC board. We like SACC-DC's openness and range of services for its members. We benefit by being introduced to companies that may be interested in dialoguing with us. It has been a great partnership.  

I understand that the American Family Plan is something you have expertise in; what are your key insights on the subject, and how could it affect the daily lives of the American people?  
The American family plan would be a massive shift for the American economy, and more importantly, it would significantly impact people's day-to-day lives. The family plan is essential during the post-pandemic era, an era characterized by increasing childhood poverty. In the light of childhood poverty, the plan would support families trying to pay for childcare and provide a higher wage for the workers providing the care. The family plan the Biden Administration has proposed makes inroads to provide care for people, whether it is the tax credit for children, more affordable education, or childcare.  

It is a much-needed change. Whether it happens is a big question since there is not bipartisan support for the plan. Parts of that plan would only pass through a reconciliation mechanism, and we are a long way away from that. We have to wait and see what happens in the fall.  
How do you see the trade relationship between Europe and the USA develop with the Biden administration? What signals and expectations are there?  
Trade has become such a hot political topic, and it is very challenging to get into a trade discussion about a particular trade agreement. There are expectations on the Biden Administration to rebuild the relationship between the E.U. and the U.S. after the Trump Administration. I see positively that although the Biden Administration has only been in office for a short period, the bilateral relationships between the U.S. and E.U. are indeed getting back to what they used to be.   

I believe the Biden Administration's path, at least until the end of 2021, is to solve existing long-term issues and rebuild trust. At the beginning of 2022, the dialogue might shift towards being trade-centric and more specific. But for now, they currently have a lot on their plate due to the pandemic and the vaccine hesitation.  

Is there anything you want our members to know about BlueStar? 
We are engaged with the chamber; we appreciate the chamber's work - and we are always interested in talking to members. SACC-DC has many entrepreneurial and innovative member companies in future sectors, and we are always open to listening, connecting, and giving some free advice.

Learn more about BlueStar Here
Researched & Written by Julia Jäger, Business Associate
A New Addition to the SACC-DC Team
Earlier this summer, Julia Jäger joined the chamber for a one-year duration as a Business Associate. Julia is in her final year pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, focusing on management and controlling. She is interested in international trade and was previously an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm. Julia has also worked for an innovation consultancy researching U.S. industries. You can read more about Julia and the rest of our team here
Thank you and Farewell Rasmus
I would first and foremost want to thank former SACC-DC Executive Director, Karin Hammar, for making me a part of the SACC-DC team and being such a great mentor. I reached out to Karin last December to see if there was an opening available for an internship. At the time, I was in the last semester of my master’s degree at American University and Kogod School of Business. A semester-long internship was a great opportunity for me to gain some work experience prior to my graduation. Since I was already in Washington D.C, for school, I have had the opportunity to actually go into the office at the House of Sweden. Being the only SACC trainee physically in the United States, I quickly learned how to work independently and develop strong time management skills in order to work with my colleagues in Sweden.

The chamber has given me exclusive insights into the Swedish-American trade relation. My experience in conducting business professionally and internationally with business leaders, diplomats, and interest groups will be highly beneficial in my future career. I will not leave the SACC organization quite yet though. I have accepted a year-long position at SACC-USA as their new Business and Finance Associate. I will continue to work alongside Karin which I am looking forward to.

I would also take the opportunity to show my gratitude towards the SACC-DC board and their guidance.
Lastly, I want to thank my trainee colleagues; David, Thea (and Julia) for making this internship what it was. I have learned a lot from you guys, both on a professional and personal level. I had the pleasure of meeting both David and Thea while I was home in Sweden back in May on a mini vacation. I hope to see you guys here in Washington D.C very soon.

All the best,
Rasmus, Business Associate -- SACC-DC

"Rasmus was a fantastic person to work with and has become a very good friend of mine. I never had a boring day working along side him. He is multi-talented team player that I know for sure will achieve big things in the future. I wish him the best of luck at SACC-USA!" - David, Business Associate
Longing for farm-to-table Nordic food? Look no further...
Ben Foster (A SACC-DC member) is bringing Nordic techniques to his provisions company, K-bröd, which specializes in all sorts of house-made Scandinavian delicacies; from knäckebröd (Swedish crispbread) to lingonberry jam to gravlax to Icelandic butter, there’s plenty for you to build a killer artisanal smörgåsbord. 

Ben manufactures farm-to-table Nordic food provisions in a Montgomery County kitchen. You can find him every Sunday morning at the Westover Farmers Market in Arlington, VA.

Researched & Written by Julia Jäger, Business Associate
Our corporate member, SSAB, reached a huge milestone for a sustainable future
SSAB has produced the world’s first fossil-free steel. The trial delivery is an important step toward a completely fossil-free value chain for iron- and steelmaking and a milestone in the HYBRIT partnership between SSAB, LKAB, and Vattenfall.

“The first fossil-free steel in the world is not only a breakthrough for SSAB; it represents proof that it’s possible to make the transition and significantly reduce the global carbon footprint of the steel industry. We hope that this will inspire others to also want to speed up the green transition,” says Martin Lindqvist, President, and CEO of SSAB.

The goal is to deliver fossil-free steel to the market and demonstrate the technology on an industrial scale as early as 2026. Using HYBRIT technology, SSAB can reduce Sweden’s total carbon dioxide emissions by approximately ten percent and Finland’s by approximately seven percent.

“We’ll be converting to electric arc furnace in Oxelösund as early as 2025. This is the first production site within SSAB to make the transition, and it means that we’ll already be cutting large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions then. This is a major responsibility, one that we’re proud to shoulder, and it brings great opportunities to the region,” says Johnny Sjöström, Head of SSAB Special Steels Division.

Researched by Julia Jäger, Business Associate
Open Position Alert:
American Student looking for an internship possibility in Sweden?
In collaboration with SACC-USA, Sana Labs in Stockholm, Sweden, is recruiting an American Growth Spring Intern. As a Growth Intern at Sana Labs, you will work in cross-functional teams across product, marketing, and sales. Your responsibilities will include executing the strategic growth priorities for the company across the customer lifecycle, from creating demand, activating users, producing content to deploying Sana Labs to our partners. Given the small size of our teams, you’ll work closely with senior leadership and be a core contributor to the strategy, tactics, and measurement of our business. 

The last day to apply is on September 30, and the start date of the internship is at the beginning of 2022.

Learn more Here.
Upcoming Events and Webinars
U.S. Infrastructure Opportunities for Non-US Companies and Buy America Challenges

If your company wants an invite to this targeted event, please get in touch with julia.jager@sacc-dc.org

With the U.S. Senate recent passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) which provides nearly $1 trillion in funding for investment in roads, bridges, rail, transit, ports, airports, electric grid, water infrastructure and broadband, many opportunities are on the horizon for US and non-US companies. The historic funding in many cases requires that products supplied for infrastructure projects contain U.S. origin content. The IIJA tightens existing rules on domestic procurement that are applicable to procurements by the federal government (Buy American) as well as for projects that are funded by the federal government (Buy America) such as transit projects under the Federal Transit Administration. While the domestic content requirements under both systems are broadly similar, these are distinct regimes with their own applicable rules which requires both contractors and sub-contractors to be familiar with numerous distinct requirements for eligible supplies. For instance, both systems provide for specific domestic content rules for iron and steel products. While a number of federal procurement projects will still be covered by more favorable rules for products produced in Sweden and other preferential countries subject to the Trade Agreements Act, there are challenges when using parts and components from China and India and other non-preferential countries. 
We look forward to discussing potential opportunities for companies in sectors potentially benefitting from this infrastructure funding and how to assess your supply chain now so companies are poised to seize opportunities in connection with this historic infrastructure spending effort. 
The 33rd Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce Open to benefit the National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund
Play with a purpose. Take the opportunity to support our Chamber and contribute to a great cause, the National Breast Cancer Coalition, while enjoying Westfields’ wonderful golf course.
Please review the sponsorship options by clicking the picture below.
SACC-USA Executive Forum Sept 30
The Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce of the United States of America (SACC-USA) cordially invites you to our flagship event, the Executive Forum, in Washington D.C on September 30, 2021. The event is held in collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden at the House of Sweden. This year’s theme – Business and Trade Opportunities under the Biden Administration – will give the latest insights in business and politics.
Secure your membership today!

SACC DC organizes many events throughout the year to give our members access to professional networking. Our annual flagship business events include SACC Summit, the Young Professionals program, and other corporate events, seminars, and workshops. We also tailor trade missions for Swedish companies interested in the Greater Washington, D.C. area.

Whether an individual with a keen interest in or connection with Sweden living in D.C. or a company looking to establish new relationships, we can help you reach your next goal.

And right now, become a member for a discounted mid-year membership rate!
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