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Home BUSINESSObstacles to trade increases, says Finnish companies
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Wed, 29 May, 2013 12:02:24 AM
FTimes Report, May 29
The number of obstacles to trade has increased in recent years, said Finnish companies in a survey.
The results of the survey to find out the challenges encountered by Finnish companies in their internationalization and trade efforts were published at Finlandia Hall on Tuesday.
The survey results indicated that the number of obstacles to trade has increased in recent years. The companies reported a total of over 1,400 obstacles to trade and investments, most of which were related to import and export of goods.
However, the number of problems concerning provision of services has increased, which, for its part, tells about the increasing importance of the service sector in the operations of Finnish businesses.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry in collaboration with the Team Finland network conducted survey in autumn 2012. Some 600 companies from various parts of Finland, covering major part of Finnish foreign trade in terms of both net sales and sectors, responded the survey. More than 90 per cent of the respondents were SMEs, small and micro businesses in particular.
Most of the obstacles to trade and investments encountered by Finnish companies - approximately 30 per cent - are related to Russian trade. The large number is partly explained by the fact that Russia is Finland's biggest foreign trading partner. The second biggest number of problems was encountered in the EU area, where the obstacles are often related to public procurement.
Signe Ratso, Director of Trade Strategy and Analysis and Market Access, DG Trade, European Commission, pointed out that the cooperation between Finland and the EU was important in removal of obstacles to trade.
‘Together, we have already been able to eliminate several major problems. The EU also offers companies databases supporting trade operations, such as the Market Access Database concerning third country markets,’ Ratso said.
A panel discussion considered what purposes an operation model like the Team Finland approach serves. Ilkka Räsänen, Director of Public Affairs at Neste Oil Corporation, encouraged Team Finland to advocate its affairs actively in the EU - both in its trade policy and in the internal market.
Leena Mörttinen, Director of Competitiveness and Growth division at Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK), pointed out that Team Finland actors need to consider matters more closely from the point of view of their customers and break barriers in the direction of business world.
Tuomas Lokki, Vice President, Marketing and Sales, at Planmeca Oy, reminded the listeners that official actors cannot do it all; companies must also be aware of what they want themselves.
The study shows as for internationalization, the companies seem to be most interested in the export markets that are already important, such as Russia, Sweden, China, the US, Germany and Norway. Japan, India and Ukraine were also mentioned.
The survey showed that companies still consider internationalization services provided by public authorities important. They considered, for instance, the minister-led export promotion visits useful.
"The survey provides much information to lean on for the work performed by the Team Finland network," noted Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb in his speech at the launch of the report, referring to, for example, the Team Finland visits for export promotion. However, Stubb also encouraged companies to look at the markets that did not come up in this study.
 
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