British and American institutions once again dominate the list of the world’s most prestigious universities, according to this release from Times Higher Education. The ranking is based on results from an invitation-only opinion survey of 10,000 top scholars around theworld.

The United States wins eight spots in the top 10, with the United Kingdom taking the remaining two. The list shows that Harvard has maintained its position at number one, while MIT and Stanford have jumped ahead of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford since last year’s ranking. The rest of the top 10 remains largely unchanged.The UK is home to seven out of 10 of the best universities in Europe.

Scandinavian countries also perform well, especially relative to their population size. Sweden’s Karolinska Institute features in the top 10, while there are 11 Swedish institutions in the top 200. Finland has six universities in the rankings.

Five years ago today, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and South Korea was put into place, helping to turn a trade deficit into a trade surplus.

EU exports to South Korea have increased by 55% since the trade deal between the two partners entered into force in 2011, and European companies have saved €2.8 billion in scrapped or discounted customs duties. Bilateral trade in goods between the EU and South Korea has been growing constantly since 2011, and reached a record level of over €90 billion in 2015.These are some of the findings of a detailed European Commission report released today to mark the five-year anniversary of the trade deal with South Korea, demonstrating a significant boost in trade thanks to the agreement

In a comment, EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “The numbers speak for themselves. The evidence of our agreement with Korea should help convince the unconvinced that Europe benefits greatly from more free trade. When our companies can export more easily, or when money saved from scrapped customs duties can be reinvested in company development, it spurs European growth. It safeguards and creates jobs. This anniversary gives us many reasons to roll up our sleeves and conclude all other pending EU trade deals that are on the table”. 
South Korea is now one of the EU’s top ten export markets. In addition to more traditional exports of machinery, transport equipment, and chemical products, the agreement has opened new export opportunities for many small European businesses in such diverse sectors as food and drink, pottery, packaging, sports equipment and book binding technology (for concrete examples, see our Exporters’ stories). The previous EU trade deficit with South Korea has been turned into a trade surplus.

Exports of EU products that previously faced particularly high duty rates – such as certain agricultural products – now benefit from discounted tariffs, and their exports have increased by over 70%. Other sectors experienced an even more significant improvement. For instance, the EU’s car sales in South Korea tripled over the five-year period. In addition, EU companies managed to add 11% to the value of services provided in South Korea and expand bilateral investments by 35%.

Worries expressed by European stakeholders ahead of the FTA’s approval have thus not materialised. Nonetheless, the European Commission continues to monitor the situation as regards potentially sensitive sectors (such as textiles, cars and electronic products) and – together with civil society – keeps a close eye on the impact of trade on sustainable development. In this context, the EU and Korea also cooperate on environmental issues and labour rights.

The agreement also allows EU authorities to continue improving trading conditions for European companies by raising potential problems in several implementing committees created under the FTA. The Commission has agreed with South Korea to explore possible amendments to the existing deal to make it correspond even better to expectations of stakeholders on both sides, for example to enable European companies to export through their logistical hubs in Asia and at the same time benefit from the FTA.

Sweden has the best reputation in the world. Accoridng to the world’s largest survey on countries’ reputation.

In Reputation Institute’s annual survey of countries’ international reputation, the global reputation index,  Sweden claims first place. This means that Sweden is climbing from the third place in the past two years, surpassing last year’s winner of Canada. Our neighboring countries Norway, Finland and Denmark, are on the 4th, 5th and 6th place.

The countries with the best reputation in the world:


2. Canada


4. Australia

5. Norway

6. Finland

7. New Zealand

8. Denmark

9. Ireland

10. The Netherlands

Source: Reputation Institute

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has published an article about International Monetary Funds (IMF) predictions on increase of world trade and its positive impact for growth of our societies.

There is wide consensus that liberalization of trade and FDI can lead to improved resource allocation across firms and sectors, boosting productivity and output. 

We have for long known that trade barriers are damaging for finacial growth. So trade facilitation is necessary for development.

If you want to read the article, click here: How IMF thinks trafe can boost growth

An hour ago Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced his new club, Manchester United. 

Ibra will join Jose Mourinhos new team to reclaim the Premier League title. And what a derby it will be towards Pep Guardiolas Man City! 

This has been a well kept secret. Now it is official. This will be a great season. 

Ibra arrives to England to conquer a new country, a new league, a new club, new titles. 

British media writes tonight: “He is the largest, global superstar that United have ever recruited”. 

Ibra is home. Manchester United is back. 

I have been working with capacity building for a long time. I have also worked in many countries over the years. 

You learn a lot from meeting people all around the world and from every day facing new challenges, developing new solutions and addressing new problems that needs to be solved.

Sometimes I feel like The Fixer. A global expert on Customs, borders, security and trade – ready to do my part making the world a better place. I am somebody that can give advise based on long international experience on how to handle movement of people and gods though the world in the most effecient way. 

However, capacity building is not about dropping from the sky in a parachute like a ‘superman’. That doesn’t work when we do capacity building. 

Instead it is about learning as much as possible about the environment you are worklng in and try to transfer relevant experiences and best practices from all around the world, together with local experitise, adjust the models to local circumstances and creating something new based on knowledge. 
I have many colleagues and friends that contributes and do their best to make our profession, our part of the world, better. We know that with globalization people trade more and move more. This is good. 

From history we have learned that when we know each other better and when we trade more the risks of conflicts decreases. We need a more friendly world in the future, that is sure. If I and my colleagues can donour little clntribution to that vision, then I am happy with my life.