Russia, soon to become a member of the World Trade Organization, is an important growth market for Finnish companies.
― Our geographical location and extensive experience with Russia also create a good basis for future growth, says Russia Expert Timo Laukkanen at the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK.
In terms of trade turnover, Russia is clearly Finland’s largest trading partner: at third place behind Sweden and Germany in exports and number one in imports.
― Russia is also a significant target for investments. Finnish companies have made investments in Russia equalling altogether some EUR 10 billion, Laukkanen adds.
― Especially Finnish investments in Russia in the 2000s and the growth in exports from production facilities located in third countries increase Russia’s significance for Finnish companies much more than can be understood from simple export figures from Finland to Russia.
From oil to tourism
Exports from Russia to Finland are dominated by oil and other energy products. Exports to Russia, on the other hand, are diverse, with the focus on highly processed products such as machinery and equipment, chemical products and forest and wood industry products.
― In travelling to Finland, Russian citizens are without a doubt number one. In addition we need to remember the significant transshipment volumes and the related forwarding and storage services, Laukkanen says.
As the growth in trade and investments continues, economic relations will become even closer and more diverse. According to Laukkanen, this development can be expedited by increasing awareness of the types of business opportunities that each country can offer its neighbour.
― Another key aspect is developing our Russia expertise by increasing our knowledge of the country’s language, business operations and culture, he explains.
Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) is expected to boost trade relations. Russia’s membership makes the country more interesting as a trading partner and investment target, which supports its economic growth and modernisation.
Laukkanen also considers the WTO membership, which received confirmation in July, to be a positive development for Finnish companies. The terms for membership required an extensive 18-year-long negotiation process.
― Committing to the WTO’s agreements and rules increases the predictability of the development of Russia’s business environment. Also reducing the restrictions related to market access and decreasing customs duties will have a positive effect on the development of trade and investments.