Exporting to Finland

Finland has an affluent, highly educated and technologically sophisticated population. British quality products are well received and UK brands are well known in the country. Total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and Finland was worth £5.7 billion in the year leading up to the end of March 2019 (ONS, 2019).

Innovations in technology

Finland is a European leader for digitalisation and was ranked highest in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI, 2019). This is reflected in the digitalisation of services across the country, as well as Finland’s vibrant start-up culture. In particular, Finland is a leading developer of artificial intelligence, the internet of things and clean technologies.

Prosperous economy

Finland is a prosperous and stable economy, with a government focused on removing trade barriers and strengthening the multilateral trading system. Finnish consumers are interested in high quality, high tech innovations, and quality brands also appeal to the rapidly growing number of tourists visiting Finland.

Gateway to markets

Finland is strategically located at the centre of a developing marketplace that extends from north-western Russia to Scandinavia and the Baltic States. Its location can help UK businesses access wider markets across Northern Europe. The Port of Helsinki is one of the busiest passenger ports in Europe (World Atlas, 2017).

Ease of doing business

20th

out of 190 countries (World Bank, 2020)

Currency

Euro

Business language

Finnish, Swedish, English

You may need a translator

GDP per capita

$49,733

UK is $41,030 (IMF, 2019)

Economic growth

1.7%

(IMF, 2019)

Time zone

GMT +2

Opportunities for exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Finland have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors.

Doing business in Finland

Preparing to export

Taxation

The UK and Finland have signed a double taxation agreement, meaning the same income is not taxed twice.

VAT

If you’re registered for VAT in the UK, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export to Finland, provided certain conditions are met.

The general VAT rate in Finland is currently 24%, with some categories such as food and medicines taxed at a reduced rate of either 14% or 10% (Vero Skatt, 2019). You can find the exact breakdown of taxes from the Finnish Tax Authority.

Regulations

Products and packaging should meet EU standards. Labels must be in Finland’s official languages of Finnish and Swedish.

There are specific requirements for labelling and packaging of food in Finland. You can find more information about the requirements from the Finnish Food Authority.

Technical manuals should be translated into Finnish.

Operating in Finland

Intellectual property

As a first step, we advise you to speak to an intellectual property lawyer if you think you need patent protection when exporting.

You can find more information about intellectual property in Finland from the Finnish Patent and Registration Office.

Payment terms

Payment terms will depend on the sector, type of contract and the company you are trading with. Invoices are generally paid on time.

Business culture

Doing business in Finland is similar to the UK. If your product or service is successful in the UK, there’s a good chance it will be successful in Finland.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.