Eastern European Markets

July, the 17th 2009

The economic crisis has not significantly increased the occurrence of obstacles to trade encountered by Finnish companies

In spite of the threat of protectionism associated with the international economic crisis, the occurrence of obstacles to trade encountered by Finnish companies has not increased significantly, shows a report published by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs today. However, from the Finnish point of view, the obstacles to trade in the Russian markets form a particular problem. Almost half of the obstacles to trade reported by the companies are encountered in trade between Finland and Russia.

“We would be in a very difficult situation if large-scale protectionism were to gain ground as a result of the economic recession. Even though, so far, protectionist measures have not been as wide-spread as was originally feared, the adverse effects they cause to individual companies are nevertheless significant. Therefore, in the current world situation marked by economic crisis, the importance of work aiming at promotion of exports and internationalisation and elimination of obstacles to trade becomes emphasised,” Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen points out. “We take active part in international trade negotiations and, on our export promotion trips, we work actively for elimination of obstacles to trade reported to us by Finnish companies. Therefore it is important that even in the future companies provide us with up-to-date information in the event that new problems arise,” Väyrynen continues.

On the basis of the survey targeted to Finnish companies, most of the problems encountered by the companies derive from difficult customs practices, high customs tariffs and technical obstacles to trade. By the sector, the most troublesome areas are the information and communications technology and machinery and equipment, both of which are Finland’s strong points. In addition to Russia, problems are encountered especially in China, the United States and India.

In addition to reporting information about market-specific obstacles to trade, the report also outlines various measures for elimination of obstacles to trade. The report is available for downloading at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs website:

Other parties involved in drawing up the report in addition to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs were the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, the Federation of Finnish Enterprises, Central Chamber of Commerce of Finland, and Finpro.

Further information:
Ilkka Saarinen, Head of Unit, tel. +358 40 847 2405,
and Commercial Secretary Selina Kangas, tel. +358 40 556 1568,,
Department for External Economic Relations

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