An aerial photo shows a residential complex built by Vanke, a Chinese real estate developer, in Zhengzhou, China on 30 August 2023. The Chinese real estate sector’s meltdown has rippled through the economy, as homeowners cut back on spending in the face of falling property values. (AFP / Lehtikuva)


ALMOST THREE-QUARTERS (72%) of Finnish export companies believe China will at least maintain its importance as a trade partner, reveals a survey distributed to export managers by Finland Chamber of Commerce.

Over half (55%) of the managers said they expect the country to remain as important a partner as previously, while 17 per cent said they expect the importance to grow.

China was expected to become slightly or significantly less important trade partner by 28 per cent of the respondents. Nine nine per cent of export companies revealed they have already reduced their dependence on the country in critical operations and seven per cent in all operations, according to Finland Chamber of Commerce.

Reducing “strategic dependencies” on China is a stated goal of the government of Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP).

Helsingin Sanomat wrote in its analysis that while companies in other parts of the world are preparing for a new trade paradigm, Finnish companies seem to be blindly holding on to hope of growth in China.

Finland Chamber of Commerce reported last week that the corporate assessments have not changed dramatically since the previous export-manager survey in May, despite continuing rhetoric about de-risking and de-coupling and warnings about a trade war amid heightened geopolitical tensions. The Chinese economy is also in faltering, with the real estate crisis rippling through the economy and the working-age population in decline.

Päivi Pohjanheimo, the director of international affairs at Finland Chamber of Commerce, reminded that the Chinese economy was expected to rebound rapidly after the country lifted its strict coronavirus restrictions.

“China’s strict policy on the coronavirus left its mark on business and consumer confidence, however. Especially in the wake of geopolitical tensions, also China has deliberately reduced its dependence on the west, driving western companies to other markets and prompting them to intentionally reduce their China risk,” she said in a press release on 11 September.

The survey also found that 98 per cent of export companies view that the geopolitical uncertainty and the consequent disruptions will have an effect on their profitability. Twelve per cent of the survey respondents stated that the effects will be substantial, 64 per cent moderate and 21 per cent minor.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT