Go West – A Visit of US & Canadian Honorary Consuls to the Confederation of Finnish Industries

Helena Drdlová
22.06.2022

On the occasion of the visit of the Finnish Honorary Consuls in the US and Canada to Finland, a meeting under the title Go West – The New Normal in Finnish Trade Relations took place at Eteläranta 10 on the 8th of June. The North American markets play a key role in Finland’s export structure, and today when a number of other regions turn increasingly unstable, it is important to strengthen the transatlantic partnership. Finland has a lot to offer to the North American markets, and a number of success stories were presented at the meeting. However, there are still challenges to be tackled.

Despite the turbulency of the past years, the transatlantic trade between Finland and the US is alive and kicking – the US is Finland’s second-biggest export market with a share of almost 12%, with the types of products ranging from medical instruments to machinery, paper products, and mineral fuels. And at the moment, Finland finds itself in the spotlight: “The NATO application opened many doors and raised a lot of warm feelings in the US,” said Alexandra Pasternak-Jackson, CEO of Amcham Finland and one of the keynote speakers.

Finland is also a forerunner in the green transition, as was presented by Janne Peljo from the EK. With the world’s first integrated climate roadmap where the economic sectors work together with the government, Finland is on track to carbon neutrality by 2035. This could not be achieved without progress in the development of green technologies, in which Finland is a leader: be it start-ups, eco-innovations, or clean energy. Finland is therefore an excellent partner for companies aiming at more sustainable production.

A number of Finnish firms are thriving in the North American market, such as the technology & automation provider Valmet, whose representative Tuuli Oja also presented the company’s experience at the meeting.

However, alongside success stories, there are still challenges ahead. The main one that was raised at the meeting by multiple speakers is that of promotion: Finland is a safe, forward-looking country with big potential, but doesn’t always succeed in communicating this image abroad. How to improve the storytelling and “sell the Finnish brand”? That is a question that undoubtedly deserves more attention – and the consuls’ visit was a fruitful contribution to that debate!