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Minsk’s recent hosting of the Belarusian-Finnish Business Forum has enabled discussion of bilateral co-operation

Obvious response to dynamic Finnish trade

Although Minsk is just one hour from Helsinki by plane, the pace of our bilateral trade is far from ideal, with most of the $160m+ trade figure stemming from Finnish imports. Minsk’s recent hosting of the Belarusian-Finnish Business Forum has enabled discussion of bilateral co-operation and paths to progress, building upon the existing platform.

The Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vladimir Ulakhovich, is convinced that our exports to Finland can grow in volume, with recent business meetings and forthcoming contract signings sure to raise levels. The sphere enjoys potential.

Meanwhile, Finland views Belarus as a ‘bridge’ to sales across the Eurasian Economic Union, and we see Finland as a gateway to the Scandinavian market. Our states face a strange situation since Finnish producers are calculating losses due to Russian sanctions while Belarusians are searching for diversified exports. The Under-Secretary of State for External Economic Relations, Matti Anttonen, has outlined several spheres for co-operation: forestry, energy, IT and ecological developments. The first two are of special focus, as our Finnish partners concentrate on wood processing and paper-making.

The Finns are ready to propose complex packages — including technologies and equipment. In the sphere of energy, they are seeking to improve energy efficiency, the use of alternative energy sources and the development of peat mines. Timo Luukkainen, who headed the recent Finnish business delegation, is confident that energy efficiency and renewable sources could dominate our future bilateral relations, as he believes that Belarus enjoys potential in this sphere. He adds that the Finns are ready to share their experience and developments, including the use of wind energy, which is saving huge resources in Finland.

The forum attracted representatives of over 20 companies from Finland. Our foreign partners have now invited Belarus to take part in the SLUSH Forum: annually hosted by Helsinki, in November.

By Polina Kononova
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