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Information about 393

Published on April 10, 2008

Author: Gourangi

Source: authorstream.com

Doing Business with Finland:  Doing Business with Finland Brian McCleary Regional Senior Commercial Officer American Embassy Helsinki, Finland Vast Potential for Increased Business Partnerships:  Vast Potential for Increased Business Partnerships There is enormous untapped potential for trade and investment between the United States and Finland. U.S.-Finnish commercial links are already strong; there is more than $7 billion in annual two-way trade. Finland has a highly developed economy known for its globally successful companies (e.g., Nokia, Stora Enso, Neste Oil, UPM, Kesko, Sampo, Wartsila, and Konecranes). “Sisu,” a Finnish word, means courage, strength, and the will to endure and finish a task; sisu sustained Finns when they fought to defend their country, and it also shows through in business today. Success: Finland’s Economic Forecast:  Success: Finland’s Economic Forecast Finland has one of the best performing economies in the EU and Europe; its GDP growth was a robust 5.5% in 2006. It has an industrial economy based on abundant forest resources, capital investments, and high technology. The Finnish economy has made huge strides since the deep recession of the early 1990s. Finland has outperformed its European partners in terms of economic growth and public finance. Exports constitute 31% of Finland’s GDP. The ten biggest Finnish companies in the United States have a combined turnover of more than three times the value of Finland’s total exports to the United States. A Thriving Business Environment:  A Thriving Business Environment According to recent reports from diverse sources, Finland shines because it: has one of the most innovative and competitive economies in the world; has created Europe’s premier educational system; ranks number one in knowledge transfer between universities and companies; is third globally in R&D spending per capita; ranks at the top of environmental sustainability; and has been judged as the least corrupt among all countries. Vast U.S. Business Opportunities:  Vast U.S. Business Opportunities Why should American companies do business in Finland? The answer is simple: it makes good business sense. Finland provides a valuable market opportunity – it is a unique gateway to a rapidly growing area formed by Scandinavia, the Baltic states, and northwestern Russia, giving you access to more than 80 million prospective customers. The Finnish workforce is highly trained and proficient in foreign languages, including English. Finland has strong, modern business infrastructure that is an inducement to investment and commerce. Finland is a safe, well-run country. Vast U.S. Business Opportunities:  Vast U.S. Business Opportunities Finland is the only Nordic country to use the euro. As one of the world’s innovation leaders, Finland invests almost 4% of its GDP on R&D. Finland has a solid business ethic, and transactions are transparent. The United States and Finland share many common business practices. They also share a keen interest in R&D, science, and creativity, which spur cutting-edge technologies. Finland was the first European country to grant women the right to vote; 12 out of 20 ministers in the new Finnish government are women. In sum, there is an excellent business and cultural fit between American and Finnish values. Today’s Key Industrial Sectors:  Today’s Key Industrial Sectors Finland, said to have transformed its economic base from rubber and herring to high technology, has a wide range of industrial sectors: metal (including electronics and electrical equipment); engineering; forest products; chemicals; shipbuilding; information and communications technology; environmental technologies; textiles; and travel and tourism. Best Prospect Sector: Information and Communications Technology:  Best Prospect Sector: Information and Communications Technology The telecommunications market has been fully liberalized. Finland was among the first to open its telecommunications market. It has the lowest mobile tariffs among OECD countries. In 2006, 100% of households had at least one mobile phone. It is one of the world's leading countries in electronic banking. It provides an excellent test base for new U.S. information technology. The United States is the number one supplier of standard, non-customized application software to Finland. Finland is now developing customized software products and is looking for U.S. partners. Information security business opportunities are also in demand.   Best Prospect Sector: Biotechnology:  Best Prospect Sector: Biotechnology Finland is a biotechnology-intensive country; almost 7% of all the biotech companies (about 140) in the 27-member-country EU are located in Finland. Finnish biotech companies historically are closely connected to universities, biocenters, and technology centers. Among the areas of biotech strength are: pharmaceuticals, biomaterials, diagnostics, and enzymes. About 30% of all Finnish biotech companies have R&D partners in the United States. There are first-rate opportunities for strategic alliances with U.S. businesses and venture capital firms. Finnish biotech firms seek to enhance their marketing skills, which means there are further possibilities for cooperation with U.S. firms.   Best Prospect Sector: Environmental Technologies:  Best Prospect Sector: Environmental Technologies There is a dynamic environmental business sector in Finland: at present, there are 300 envirotech firms.  Their areas of activity focus on: air pollution control, air protection, waste management, recycling, renewable energy, conservation, soil protection, water purification, noise abatement, and research.  There is strong demand for air pollution control equipment in light of environmental concerns in neighboring countries (e.g., Russia and the Baltic states). Finland has a national action plan with the goal of becoming the leader in environmental business by 2012.  There are business opportunities in technologies to detect air and water pollution and to purify air in industries and municipal energy and power plants. Another promising area is in equipment to remove nitrogen oxide emissions, reduce dust, and recycle/recover municipal waste. Best Prospect Sector: Energy:  Best Prospect Sector: Energy Finland’s energy needs are high, due to its energy-intensive industry, cold climate, and long distances.  Finland does not have its own fossil fuels – coal, oil or natural gas – but does have biofuels, rich reserves of peat, and extensive wood resources. Finland’s energy-intensive industries are major players and have spurred development of efficient energy systems. Four nuclear power plants already exist and a fifth is being built; a sixth plant is under discussion. Finland aims to increase its use of renewable energy significantly by 2025 from the current 25%. The target for electricity production from renewable energy sources is 32% of gross electricity consumption in 2010. The Finnish market offers business opportunities in innovative renewable energy source equipment. Possibilities also exist in projects funded by Finland’s National Technology Agency, TEKES. Best Prospect Sector: Medical Equipment:  Best Prospect Sector: Medical Equipment Finland has universal health coverage and is divided into 21 hospital districts. Public (subsidized) hospitals are owned by municipalities; 10% of hospitals are private. The United States is the most important external supplier of medical equipment in Finland, with 26% of the market. High quality and technically sophisticated medical equipment such as patient monitoring systems, mini invasive surgery (MIS) equipment, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment have the best market potential in Finland.  Finnish hospitals are eager to try out new technology in modern treatment methods.  As an EU member, Finland’s complies with EU directives What American Business Offers:  What American Business Offers What does American business offer to Finland? The United States has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world. American firms are at the forefront of technology development in areas such as information and communications, software, health, power generation, transportation, defense, and services. Doing business in America is also highly attractive. Last year, foreign nationals bought nearly $100 billion in U.S. equities and $500 billion in private sector bonds; they also took ownership stakes of $180 billion in American companies. There will always be plenty of investment opportunities for Finnish firms throughout the United States. Following Up:  Following Up Please contact us to take advantage of U.S. and Finnish trade and investment opportunities. The American Embassy in Helsinki’s Web site is “www.usembassy.fi”; the Commercial Section’s is “www.buyusa.gov/finland.” Thank you!

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