Containers at Vuosaari Harbour in Helsinki. LEHTIKUVA

International news

A recent study by Finnish Customs reveals a growing trade partnership between Finland and the United States. The United States has reaffirmed its position as Finland's third-largest export destination and has risen to become the fifth-largest source of imports for Finland between January and September 2023. This trading relationship has resulted in a significant surplus for Finland, highlighting the United States' increasing importance as a trading partner.

Despite a slight decline of 1.6% from last year, Finnish exports to the United States remained robust, amounting to €4.8 billion during the first nine months of 2023. This follows a substantial 67.1% growth in exports to the U.S. the previous year. The slight dip in exports is seen against a backdrop of continued high levels of trade.

Imports from the United States showed a notable increase, rising by 15.6% to €3.1 billion in the same period. This follows a dramatic 78.4% increase in 2022, indicating a sustained upward trend in imports from the U.S.

Olli-Pekka Penttilä, Director of Statistics at Finnish Customs, noted the growing significance of the U.S. as a trade partner for Finland. The trade in goods, particularly industrial machinery and oil products, has been in significant surplus for Finland. The increase in crude oil imports from the U.S. is a strategic shift following the cessation of trade with Russia.

Exports from Finland to the U.S. predominantly consist of industrial machinery, equipment, and oil products. The value of exports in refined oil products, metals, and paper decreased, while exports in the chemical industry, transportation means, and machinery increased.

The import of fuels from Finland to the U.S. reached $1.1 billion in 2022, marking a 251% increase since 2017. However, large cruise ships exported from Finland to the U.S. in recent years are not reflected in U.S. import statistics, highlighting a gap in the UN Comtrade statistics database.

The steel and aluminum duties imposed by the U.S. in 2018, citing national security concerns, had a dampening effect on Finnish exports. However, the resolution of the dispute between the EU and the U.S. at the end of 2021, with an agreement to remove these duties until March 31, 2025, has helped normalize trade relations. The lifting of these duties, coupled with the subsiding of the COVID-19 pandemic, has facilitated a swift recovery in Finnish exports to the U.S.

Penttilä concludes by emphasizing that trade barriers like steel duties can negatively impact foreign trade, but the recent developments indicate a positive trajectory for Finland-U.S. trade relations.