Containers at Vuosaari Harbour in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA


Finnish exports to Russia and Central Asia have experienced a significant downturn, dropping 68.9% over two years, according to Eurostat's international trade statistics. In 2021, Finland's share of EU exports to these regions was 3.9%, but by 2023, this figure had fallen to just 1.9%. This decline indicates that Finnish companies have reduced their exports to the East far more than the EU average.

The EU's exports to Russia decreased by €50.9 billion over two years, while exports to Central Asia, which includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Armenia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, grew by €14.0 billion during the same period. Despite an overall 57.0% decrease in EU exports to Russia, four EU member states—Slovenia, Bulgaria, Latvia, and Croatia—managed to increase their exports to both Russia and Central Asia.

Finnish exports to these regions witnessed the third-largest decline among EU countries, emphasizing a significant shift in trading patterns. "From the perspective of international trade statistics, there is currently no need for Finnish companies to export to the East via road transport," analyzed Olli-Pekka Penttilä, a statistics director.

In 2021, Finnish exports to Russia and Central Asia amounted to €3.9 billion, dropping to €2.5 billion in 2022—a 37.2% decrease from the previous year. By 2023, exports had further declined to €1.2 billion, marking a 50.5% decrease from 2022 and a 68.9% decrease from 2021. This drastic reduction in Finnish exports was double the decrease seen in EU exports to these regions over the same period.

Penttilä commended Finnish companies for their responsible reduction in exports to the East, which has been significantly greater than the EU average. It's important to note that export statistics do not account for the country of origin, which can complicate direct comparisons between countries' import and export figures. For instance, a considerable portion of Finnish exports to the East is not originally from Finland, necessitating adjustments when comparing to other countries' import data.

Statistical discrepancies, often methodological but sometimes unexplained, exist between Finland and Central Asian countries' trade data. Despite these differences, the latest comparisons suggest that Russia has not significantly replaced its imports from Finland with goods from Central Asia. Public discussions on differences in international trade statistics between countries often overlook these methodological nuances.

Penttilä highlighted that Russia has not published its trade statistics for 2022-2023, making the most recent cross-border statistical comparison with its neighbors from late 2021. This study illustrates the complex dynamics of international trade and the significant impact geopolitical and economic shifts can have on national export figures.