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Finland - Overview

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Introduction

Capital:: Helsinki
Area:: 338 km2
Total Population:: 5.414
Annual growth rate:: 0.00%
Density:: 18.00/km2
Urban population:: 84%
Population of Helsinki (1.311), Tampere (300), Turku (250), Oulu (170), Lahti (110)
Official language: The official languages are Finnish and Swedish. Finnish is spoken by 92% and Swedish by 5.5% of the population. .
Other languages spoken: Sami (Lappish) is the mother tongue of approximately 1,700 people in Lapland.
Business language: English is the business language. The knowledge of English is very good throughout the country.
Ethnic Origins:: Finn 93.4%, Swede 5.7%, Russian 0.4%, Estonian 0.2%, Roma (Gypsy) 0.2%, Sami 0.1%
Beliefs: Lutheran Church of Finland 84.2%, Orthodox Church 1.1%, other Christian 1.1%, other 0.1%, none 13.5%.
Telephone codes:
To make a call from: 0
To make a call to: +358
Internet suffix:: .fi
Type of State::
Republic, democracy.
Type of economy::
High-income economy, OECD member
A very competitive country; at the leading edge in the sector of new technologies. Finland is the country of the euro zone that has been the hardest hit by the crisis

Economic overview

Often used as an example for its economic performances and its competitiveness and innovative successes, Finland is one of the countries in the euro zone which has been hit the hardest by the global financial crisis and the crisis in the eurozone. After shrinking for the second year in a row in 2013 (-0.6%), the Finnish economy should finally see a recovery in 2014 (0.8%).

The global financial crisis and the stimulus measures had a profound and durable impact on public finances and debt levels, with the latter possibly doubling over the course of a decade. The main obstacle which the government now must deal with is therefore to combine measures to promote growth and measures allowing for the rebalancing of accounts. In 2013, both the volume of trade and consumption dropped due to austerity measures. The coalition government's 2014 budget focuses on the reduction of poverty, social inequality and social exclusion, on the consolidation of public finances, supporting and developing sustainable economy, employment and competitiveness. The government is relying on exports to stimulate the economic recovery. The issues which the country has to deal with includre the energy question, houshold debt, environmental protection, education, research, enterpreneurship and population aging. Finland is among the countries who are most affected by population aging and a fall in the active workforce.

Its GDP being among the highest in the world, Finland offers a high living standard. The distribution of wealth is fair, however, social inequalities have risen in the recent years. Affected by the crisis, the unemployment rate has also increased considerably, and should remain at around 8% in 2014.

Main industries

Agriculture represents less than 3% of the current Finnish GDP and employs less than 4.5% of the population. Because of the unfavorable climate, agricultural development is limited to the maintenance of a certain level of self-sufficiency in basic products. Cereal production dominates, well ahead of milk production and animal husbandry.

Finland's accession to the EU has further accelerated the process of restructuring and downsizing of this sector.

Forestry is traditionally well-developed: Finland exports a rich variety of products ranging from simple wooden products to high-tech tags and labels and including paper, cardboard, packaging etc. Other key industrial sectors are metal production, mechanical engineering and electronic goods. Finland specializes in exporting information and communication technologies, Nokia becoming the world leading manufacturer of mobile handsets.

The service sector employs almost 70% of the population and accounts for almost 68% of the GDP.

Foreign trade overview

Finland is a highly industrialized country, whose economy relies heavily on exports (40% of the GNP) and whose trade accounts for roughly 80% of the GDP (WTO 2010-2012 average).

The country's trade balance had been structurally positive, yet in the recent years it contracted, finally creating a record trade deficit in 2011 because imports had reached their pre-crisis levels while exports were growing more slowly. In 2013, both exports and imports fell and the trade deficit slightly diminished (2.2 billion euro). A progressive resumption of exports is expected given the restructuring of export industries and the resumption of imports in Finland's European neighbors. 

The country's main trading partners are Germany, Russia, Sweden, China and the United States.

FDI

After Finland joined the euro zone in 1995, FDI flows were increasing steadily. However, in the context of the international financial crisis of 2008 and the following euro zone crisis, FDI inflow to Finland decreased dramatically. Whether they will recover in 2014 remains to be seen.

The country’s strengths include: its reputation as having the least amount of corruption in the world, its competitiveness, its strategic position at the center of a dynamic zone formed by Russia, Scandinavia and the Baltic countries, and its economic orientation towards high technology, research and development.

For more information, refer to the Invest in Finland website.
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