Finland - Overview
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The global financial crisis and the stimulus measures had a profound and durable impact on public finances and debt levels, with the latter possibly doubling over the course of a decade. The main obstacle which the government now must deal with is therefore to combine measures to promote growth and measures allowing for the rebalancing of accounts. In 2013, both the volume of trade and consumption dropped due to austerity measures. The coalition government's 2014 budget focuses on the reduction of poverty, social inequality and social exclusion, on the consolidation of public finances, supporting and developing sustainable economy, employment and competitiveness. The government is relying on exports to stimulate the economic recovery. The issues which the country has to deal with includre the energy question, houshold debt, environmental protection, education, research, enterpreneurship and population aging. Finland is among the countries who are most affected by population aging and a fall in the active workforce.
Its GDP being among the highest in the world, Finland offers a high living standard. The distribution of wealth is fair, however, social inequalities have risen in the recent years. Affected by the crisis, the unemployment rate has also increased considerably, and should remain at around 8% in 2014.
Finland's accession to the EU has further accelerated the process of restructuring and downsizing of this sector.
Forestry is traditionally well-developed: Finland exports a rich variety of products ranging from simple wooden products to high-tech tags and labels and including paper, cardboard, packaging etc. Other key industrial sectors are metal production, mechanical engineering and electronic goods. Finland specializes in exporting information and communication technologies, Nokia becoming the world leading manufacturer of mobile handsets.
The service sector employs almost 70% of the population and accounts for almost 68% of the GDP.
Foreign trade overview
The country's trade balance had been structurally positive, yet in the recent years it contracted, finally creating a record trade deficit in 2011 because imports had reached their pre-crisis levels while exports were growing more slowly. In 2013, both exports and imports fell and the trade deficit slightly diminished (2.2 billion euro). A progressive resumption of exports is expected given the restructuring of export industries and the resumption of imports in Finland's European neighbors.
The country's main trading partners are Germany, Russia, Sweden, China and the United States.
The country’s strengths include: its reputation as having the least amount of corruption in the world, its competitiveness, its strategic position at the center of a dynamic zone formed by Russia, Scandinavia and the Baltic countries, and its economic orientation towards high technology, research and development.
For more information, refer to the Invest in Finland website.