The overall objective of this study was to establish the nature and extent of foreign trade taking place within the Baltic Sea Economic Region as practised by the enterprises located in the Turku region in south-western Finland. The particular objective of the project was to determine what type of trade the enterprises are engaged in, and to define the particular threats and opportunities posed to them by Baltic Sea trade. In addition, the study surveyed the enterprisesí needs for training and essential problems related to Baltic Sea trade.
One of the important findings of this study was that the Baltic trade of the enterprises situated in and around the Turku region is fairly strongly SME based which is partly explained by their dominant position in that region. The Turku areasí foreign trade enterprises have most of their contacts with Sweden, Germany, Estonia and Russia. That is to say, trading is brisk on both the western and eastern side of the Baltic Sea.
Foreign trade in the Baltic Sea region as practised by the Turku area enterprises draws mainly on their own export and import activities, although with respect to trade with Russia and Estonia, other facilities are also made use of. Much of the export to Russia takes place with the aid of trading houses or Finnish intermediaries, whilst in Estonia the trade pattern is additionally characterised by the ownership of subsidiaries and a reliance on subcontracting.
The survey also revealed that the greatest interest is directed to those countries with which their trading relations are the closest, i.e. to the Estonian, Swedish, Russian and German markets. However, it should be noticed that this interest towards different market areas is explained by slightly different factors. For instance, the interest towards the Russian and Polish markets is well explained by whether the enterprise in question already trades with the area or not; contrasting with interests towards the Baltic states and the EU member countries being unrelated to any existing trade relations.
All in all, the Turku area enterprises perceive that the EU member countries and the Baltic states clearly provide them with more significant opportunities than the Russian or Polish markets. Launching a business and networking are thought to be easier in the former areas. Goods imported from the EU member countries of the Baltic region are considered to be superior by their competitive edge compared to those from other areas.
Somewhat surprisingly, the enterprises conclude that the utilisation of the purchasing power potential and production costs in the Baltic states and in the EU member countries of the Baltic Sea region provide them with more opportunities than those in Russia or Poland. In other words, the studied enterprises see their ability to tap into these markets to be weaker than those of their competitors. The apparent lack of interest towards the growing Polish market is of particular concern.
Tutkimus on julkaistu suomeksi nimellä: Itämeren talousalue Turun seudun yritysten markkina-alueena
(Tutkimus on toteutettu Euroopan sosiaalirahaston ESR-avustuksella)