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The Warsaw Voice » Other » December 2, 2009
FINLAND IN POLAND
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Finland's Minister for Foreign Trade and Development
December 2, 2009   
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Dr. Paavo Väyrynen, Finland's Minister for Foreign Trade and Development:

Finland is one of the most export-oriented and open economies in the world. The high standard of education, environmental standards, significant R&D investment and advanced information society have brought the Finnish private sector to the forefront in adopting new technologies and a culture of innovation. However, the present recession has affected our export-oriented economy. That spurs us to diversify and to find new ideas and solutions for the future.

Contacts and relations between Finland and Poland have always been close, and since Poland's entry to the European Union on May 1, 2004 both our economic and political links have strengthened continuously. Between 2005 and 2008 Finnish exports to Poland have grown between 21 and 37 percent each year, and Polish exports to Finland between 15 and 31 percent. Even though these figures indicate strong and systematic growth, the volumes of trade and investments could and should be much higher. The potential of the attractive Polish market is still underused by Finnish businesses.

Finnish products and services from several sectors are already known on the Polish market, although not all of them are perceived as Finnish. Many Finnish products are present in the everyday life of Poles: Nokia mobile phones, Elovena oat products, Fazer and Panda sweets, Raisio, Finlandia vodka, Fiskars, Neste, Finnair and Nordea are just a few of famous Finnish brands in Poland. In addition, there is a Finnish connection even in some traditional Polish products, like Soko³ów meat products, partly owned by the Finnish HK-Scan.

Altogether, there are some 200 Finnish companies on the Polish market, 70 of which have production operations in Poland. The companies represent several sectors and are located in various regions. Many of them are members of the Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce, which is one of the most active chambers in Poland.

Since becoming a member of the EU, Poland has been successful in attracting foreign investments. So far, infrastructure has been pinpointed as its weakness in competitiveness studies. The situation is improving gradually, as several partly EU-financed projects will be carried out in the coming years. I hope that Finnish companies will have the opportunity to participate and use their know-how in these projects.

On Dec. 8-9 I will be visiting Poland with a business delegation of over 30 Finnish companies, which is a great pleasure for me. The program of my visit provides excellent opportunities for Finnish companies and Polish decision-makers and the business community to exchange ideas and establish new networks. I am confident that this visit will give us new perspectives on how to deepen trade and investment relations between our countries.
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