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Last updated : Nov 2009
Finland Business
Finland Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com

As a highly industrialised country, Finland produces a wide range of industrial and consumer goods. Timber and related industries are a key component of the economy, accounting for over 40 per cent of all Finnish exports, but the country is consequently vulnerable to fluctuations in the world market prices and demand levels for timber, paper and finished products such as furniture. Per capita annual income currently stands at just under US$25,000.

Agriculture is relatively important by the standards of most European industrialised economies and, despite its climatic and geographical conditions, Finland enjoys virtual self-sufficiency in the basic foodstuffs such as grain, dairy products and root crops.

Finland's largest industrial sector is engineering, where traditional ‘metal bashing’ industries are relatively important by the standards of most industrialised countries. Mining is relatively small, although exportable quantities of gold are produced and diamond deposits were discovered during 1994. Industry is dependent on imported components.

The principal exports are machinery and transport equipment, metal ores and textiles, apart from paper and woodworking. Engineering products and consumer goods are Finland’s main imported products. The service sector is notable for a spectacular growth in mobile communications to which Finns are now among the world’s highest per capita subscribers. A number of Finnish companies are also prominent in in the global telecommunications equipment market.

A sharp decline in GDP growth during 2001 from 6 per cent to under 1 per cent, caused by a collapse in exports, Finland has undergone a gradual recovery. Estimated annual growth during 2004 was 1.9 per cent. Unemployment rates remain quite high at 9 per cent and efforts to reduce it now form a centrepiece of government economic policy. Through its geographical position and political neutrality, the country has developed unique trading links with East and West. Its principal partners are now Germany, Sweden and the UK.

Finland joined the EU along with Sweden and Austria in January 1995. Since then, after meeting the required fiscal and budgetary targets, Finland has joined the European Monetary Union and adopted the Euro at its inception during 2001. Finland is also a member of the Nordic Council and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Business Etiquette

Businesspeople are expected to dress smartly and most Finnish businesspeople speak English and/or German.

Finnish is a quite complex language related to Hungarian and Estonian. For further details of courses available contact:

The Council for the Instruction of Finnish for Foreigners,
Pohjoisranta 4 A 4,
00171 Helsinki

Telephone number: (9) 134 171
Fax number: (9) 135 9335).

Local tourist boards and some travel agents will be able to assist in finding translation services. Punctuality is essential for business and social occasions. Calling and Business cards are common. The best months for business visits are February to May and October to December.

Office hours are generally: Monday-Friday 0800 -1615 hrs.

Commercial Information

The following organisation can offer advice:

Finland Trade Centre,
Embassy of Finland,
177-179 Hammersmith Road,
W6 8BS.

Telephone number: (020) 8600 7260
Fax number: (020) 8600 7261

e-mail: uk@finpro.fi
website: www.finpro.fi

Central Chamber of Commerce of Finland
PO Box 1000,
00101 Helsinki

Telephone number: (9) 696 969
Fax number: (9) 650 303
e-mail: keskuskauppakamari@wtc.fi
website: www.kauppakamari.fi.

Conferences and Conventions

Finland is among the world’s top-20 conference destinations. In addition to the conference centres and hotels, there are luxury cruise ships and spas offering full convention facilities.

The Finland Convention Bureau helps and advises conference organisers. for further information contact:

Fabianinkatu 4 B 11,
00130 Helsinki

Telephone number: (9) 668 9540
Fax number: (9) 6689 5410

e-mail: info@fcb.fi
website: www.finlandconventionbureau.fi

Note: Information may also be obtained from the Finnish Tourist Board, who produce a brochure entitled Meeting Planner’s Guide to Finland.