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Government of Finland : Russia remains the most interesting but also the hardest market for Finnish comp

11/05/2012 | 08:49am US/Eastern

Press release 259/2012

Ministry for Foreign Affairs

5.11.2012 15.32

With a view to internationalisation plans, Russia remains the most attractive market for Finnish companies and export promotion visits made to various regions of Russia interest them. At the same time, considering the barriers to trade and investments, Russia is also the country viewed as the most problematic. The EU markets call for attention as well. These issues emerged in the survey on internationalisation plans and trade barriers directed to Finnish companies.

Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb is satisfied with the active feedback received from the companies.

"A growing number of small and medium-sized companies want to internationalise their operations. This is a very welcome message and I encourage companies to take advantage of the export promotion visits and other internationalisation services available. These visits are made to the markets the companies are interested in and in which assistance provided by me or some other ministers is needed due to, for example, trade barriers."

The survey on internationalisation and trade barriers, organised under Team Finland cooperation, produced 600 responses from Finnish companies. The companies reported a total of 650 wishes for export promotion destinations and some 1,200 barriers to trade and investments. Major part of the barriers (approx. 30%) concerned problems encountered in Russia. In spite of the problems, Russia is considered an interesting market, since it also emerged as the most popular destination for export promotion visits.

"It is clear that the recent accession of Russia to the WTO and the possibilities offered by the Russian markets make it an attractive market area for a growing number of Finnish companies," says Minister Stubb.

In addition to Russia, companies show special interest towards, for example, the Chinese, U.S. and Indian markets, on which Finnish companies also encounter trade barriers making operations difficult more often than average. For SMEs the European internal market offers a natural first step towards internationalisation and they consider access to public export promotion services important also within the EU market. EU countries are not totally unproblematic either, and companies reported several trade barriers encountered in them.

The survey was carried out at the initiative of the Team Finland network and the parties responsible for the practical implementation included the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry for Employment and the Economy, Finpro, the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, the Central Chamber of Commerce, the International Chamber of Commerce ICC, the Federation of Finnish Enterprises and the Federation of Finnish Commerce.

Objectives regarding internationalisation and information on barriers to trade can be reported to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs or other stakeholders of the Team Finland network even in the future.

Contact information: Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ilkka Saarinen, Head of Unit for Market Access, tel. +358 9 160 56327, and Heli Siikaluoma, Commercial Counsellor, tel. +358 9 160 56528; E-mail: tradebarrier(at)formin.fi.

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