Focus on Finland

Focus On Finland

Europe’s seventh largest country by area (338,145km²), Finland has a population of around 5.3 million people, with almost two thirds of its inhabitants living in the country’s urban areas, and one third living rurally.

Finland’s economy has struggled for growth over the last decade and even though its performance showed small signs of improvement in 2015, where it managed to avoid a fourth consecutive year of declining activity, the country’s Finance Minister Alexander Stubb still referred to the nation as “The sick man of Europe.”

In recent years, two of Finland’s central economic elements, forestry - in particular paper, and communications and information technology company Nokia, have been in decline.

The paper industry has suffered from what an independent economic research agency in Helsinki (ETLA) called “the reduction of demand for print paper due to the substitution of print media by internet services.”

As for Nokia, there was a time when the company was the world’s biggest supplier of mobile phone handsets, but failure to respond to the emergence of the smartphone and Apple’s iPhone has resulted in Nokia’s swift market decline.

Finland is likely to achieve a small rate of growth this year on the back of improved domestic demand. According to Focus Economics, the country’s GDP is expected to grow 0.9% by the end of 2016, and analysts expect an expansion to GDP by 1.0% in 2017 with Finland’s exporting sector becoming more competitive and a rejuvenated construction industry.

As of 2015, the Department for International Trade states the top UK exports to Finland as being:
• Vehicles
• Machinery and components
• Chemical products and pharmaceuticals
• Electrical products
• Scientific and optical equipment

Further opportunities for UK businesses can be found in business services, healthcare, renewable energy, retail, and information and communication technology.