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1. Finland export overview
Finland is a member of the European Union (EU) and ranks fourth in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index 2014 to 2015. Finland’s healthcare, primary and higher education and innovation environment are ranked the best in the world by the WEF.
Finland is the ninth easiest country in to do business according to the World Bank Report 2014.
Contact a Department for International Trade (DIT) Finland export adviser for a free consultation if you’re interested in exporting to Finland.
Finland has an affluent and technologically sophisticated population. British quality products are well received in the market and the UK brand is immediately recognised in Finland.
Benefits for UK businesses exporting to Finland include:
- English widely used as the business language
- access to wider markets through geographical location
- stable political and economic situation
Strengths of the Finnish market include:
- global leaders in telecommunications and innovative technology applications
- stable economy
- government focused on building a global marketplace and removing trade barriers
- open business environment with low levels of corruption
Read the EU’s practical guide to doing business in Europe.
Doing business in Finland is very similar to doing business in the UK. If your product or service is successful in the UK, there’s a good chance you’ll be successful in Finland. At present there are no major challenges to UK companies.
3. Growth potential
3.1 Economic growth
Finland has a highly industrialised, largely free market economy with one of the highest per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in Europe.
Finland’s short term economic outlook remains subdued. Modest recovery is expected from 2015 onwards. About 50% of Finland’s GDP comes from exports.
Finland has a large industrial and services industries base. Its largely export driven economy is built on high tech goods and services as well as forest industry products.
Finland’s priority sectors for economic development include:
- bio economy and clean technology
- chemical industry
- life sciences technologies
- information and telecommunication technologies
3.2 Trade agreements
Contact the SOLVIT team if you have market access issues relating to the operation of the Single Market.
3.3 Gateway to markets
Finland is strategically located. It is at the centre of a rapidly developing marketplace of 80 million consumers from north-western Russia, Scandinavia and the Baltic States.
4. UK and Finland trade
The total exports of goods from the UK to Finland in 2014 amounted to £1.6 billion. Exports of services from the UK to Finland amounted to £1 billion.
The UK was Finland’s seventh largest trading partner in goods in 2014.
Top UK exports to Finland include:
- machinery and components
- chemical products and pharmaceuticals
- electrical products
- scientific and optical equipment
5. Opportunities for UK businesses in Finland
DIT provides free international export sales leads from its worldwide network. Search for export opportunities.
Additionally smaller tenders are published on Finland’s domestic tender notification site Hilma.
Learn more about business opportunities in the Nordic and Baltic regions.
5.1 Business services
In Finland the demand for business services is growing rapidly due to public and private sector outsourcing.
There are opportunities across the entire value chain for UK companies with competitive products and services, including:
- advisory services
- engineering and design
- advertising, public relations (PR) and marketing
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on business services opportunities in Finland.
5.2 Renewable energy
The Finnish government has set-up renewable energy targets that will increase investments across the sector over the next 10 years.
UK opportunities are available in:
- sustainable construction and energy efficiency
- bio energy and biomass value chain
- onshore wind power
Contact email@example.com for more information on reneable energy opportunities in Finland.
Finland has one of the most rapidly ageing populations in the world. There is demand for technological solutions and services to help independent living and provide better care for the elderly.
Opportunities for UK healthcare companies exist in:
- new hospital builds
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on healthcare opportunities in Finland.
5.4 Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
New technologies and gadgets are very popular Finland.
Opportunities for UK ICT companies exist in:
- mobile platforms
- mobile and online games
- operating systems
Contact email@example.com for more information on ICT opportunities in Finland.
Demand for high quality consumer brands is growing in Finland. In addition to the domestic market, Russian tourists spend nearly €1 billion annually on goods and services in Finland. Finnish companies in the retail sector can also offer a gateway to the Russian market as approximately 600 Finnish companies operate in Russia.
Opportunities for UK retail companies exist in:
- food and drink
- home decoration
- consumer electronics
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on retail opportunities in Finland.
6. Start-up considerations
There are several ways you can do business in Finland:
- export direct
- set up an agency
- appoint a distributor
- form a joint venture or manufacture under licence agreement with a Finnish company
- acquire all or part of a Finnish company
- set up a local subsidiary in market
If you choose to export directly you’re advised to hire a local representative either on a commission basis or as an importer or distributor.
7. Legal considerations
Contact the DIT team in Finland to help find tax and legal advisers before entering into agreements.
7.1 Standards and technical regulations
Products and packaging should meet EU standards.
Marking and labelling requirements in Finland are based on the Act on Product Safety. You should provide all users’ information in Finland’s official languages of Finnish and Swedish.
There are specific requirements for labelling and packaging of food in Finland.
Technical manuals should be translated into Finnish.
7.2 Intellectual property
Trademarks, designs, patents and copyright are the principal forms of IP protection available to companies and individuals.
IP law, especially for patent protection, is not totally harmonised within the EU.
8. Tax and custom considerations
8.1 Value Added Tax (VAT)
The general VAT rate in Finland is currently 24%. Some categories such as food and medicines that are taxed at a reduced rate of either 14% or 10%. You can find the exact breakdown of taxes from the Finnish Tax Authority.
Check with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) regarding VAT refund of business expenses incurred in Finland.
8.2 Corporate tax
The corporate tax rate in Finland is 20%.
8.3 Income tax
Finland has a progressive tax rate related to income and permanent residence in Finland. Both employees and employers pay contributions towards pensions and social allowances.
The internal market of the EU is a single market which allows the free movement of goods and services. Therefore no import duties are applicable.
Goods in free circulation within the EU can move between member states without being subject to any documentation requirements.
However, excise or controlled goods do need documentation.
You should include normal commercial documentation with the export for dispatches to Finland.
9. Entry requirements
EU residents do not require a visa to enter Finland, but are advised to travel with a valid passport.
9.1 Travel advice
If you’re travelling to Finland for business, check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice beforehand.
Contact the DIT team in Finland for more information on opportunities for doing business in Finland.