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Finland marks 100 years of Indepedence this yearAmbassador Eero Suominen of Finland in Seoul

The following article on the 100 years of Finnish independence was provided by the Embassy of Finland in Seoul.—Ed.

Centennial of independence of Finland:

The theme for the 100 years of Finnish independence is "Together". We want to celebrate our centennial together with our friends in Korea and all over the world. Finland`s success story is grounded in its people`s wellbeing –even at times, when the circumstances have been adverse. For over a hundred years Finland has worked hard to make this world a fairer place. We want to continue to walk the path together with our friends. Let us create a more fair, equal, clean, healthy and creative world together.

Ambassador Eero Suominen of Finland in Seoul

Finland and Korea are both countries who live from foreign trade. Both countries have a strong IT –sector. I strongly believe there are a lot of possibilities for co-operation in this sector.

Finland is also very proud of its food, Finnish food is the safest in the world. This excellence is based on high-quality agricultural ingredients and strict hygiene procedures set the standard for the entire food chain. Knowing that the Korean customers highly value pure and safe food, we are sure they will appreciate Finnish food products.

Korea has fastest ageing population in Asia and Finland has the most aged population in Europe. We need solutions to keep the quality of life of the elderly high as long as possible. Also in this sector we have a lot to offer for each other.

The Nordic lifestyle is very popular in Korea. Finnish design is near the nature, practical and simple and it has always been of the high quality. We believe it suits to the demanding taste of the Koreans.

However we should not forget the traditional export goods, machines, good Korean cars, electronics and the shipbuilding sector.

Finland with its beautiful nature and high –class cultural events is an interesting tourist destination for the Koreans. I am also sure that the coming Pyeongchang Olympics will wake up the Finns how much there is to see in Korea. We are expecting more and more tourists from Korea to Finland and from Finland to Korea during the coming years.

Also there is a need from both sides to get investments from Korea to Finland and vice versa. I believe that for example in the IT -sector there are a lot of opportunities.

All in all there are many different ways to strengthen the economic relations and also other relations between our countries.

Attractive foreign investment environment in Finland:

There are many reasons for the Korean companies to invest in Finland. First for the Finnish operating environment is stable and predictable. Finland has a well established and functioning state bureaucracy, an effective rule of law and various personal freedoms and civil liberties.

Finland is a member in European Union and a member of the euro-zone thus providing access to EU´s internal markets. Finland has a low corporate tax rate, only 20 %. Finns are internationally oriented and English is the second language of the business community. The Economist ranks Finland among the ten best business environments in the world. Finland is one of the least corrupt countries in the world, which makes doing business in Finland more straight-forward than in most places.

Second the Finnish workforce is experienced and exceptionally well educated. Finns know global business and are used to working in a multicultural environment, in English and across different time zones. In 2015, the World Economic Forum estimated that Finland has the best human capital in the world in terms of education, well-being and employment. According to OECD (Education at a Glance 2016), the highest performing graduates in Europe come from Finland.

Due to a structural change in the Finnish ICT sector, there is now a unique opportunity to engage top talents. Nokia’s intellectual capital ensures that Finnish engineers know how to mass manufacture even the most complex electronics.

Finland is seen as a leader in data sovereignty, with more responsible policies towards the protection, retention and collection of electronic data than most other European states.

Third Finnish innovation environment is one of the best in the world according to international benchmarks. Strong commitment to innovation and R&D by both the private and the public sectors has played a crucial role in Finland’s development into one of the leading knowledge-based economies in the world. The R&D expenditure has consistently been above 3 % of GDP since the turn of the millennium. New businesses are continuously emerging in the gaming, electronics, software, clean-tech and health industries. A good example of the inspiring innovative scene in Finland is "Slush", Europe`s leading start-up event, which will be held in Helsinki November 30th -December 1st 2017

About 3 % of all employed people in the country are working in research and development functions in Finland, this being one of the highest percentages in the world. The number of people with doctorate degrees has nearly doubled in the last ten years.

In addition, the R&D framework builds a strong emphasis of IPR protection. It is noteworthy that in a joint R&D project, the IPR is the property of a company, not a research institution or a university in Finland. These factors encourage companies to develop and test their new digital services in Finland.

Fourth the advanced transport infrastructure and logistics are key strengths of Finland’s domestic economy and its lively trade with the Nordic and Baltic countries, the EU, Russia and Asia. Business is served by an extensive network of roads and railways, and by a vast network of waterways, canals and sea lanes.

Fifth the practical Finns show a strong commitment to functional infrastructure. Finland was a forerunner in rolling out 3G networks, and has recently launched the most advanced 5G test network in the world. We also have some surprising infrastructure advantages, such as a stable rock-based ground formation and cool weather that are ideal elements for establishing data centers.
Companies in Finland can depend on a highly reliable and cost-effective power supply to run their business with maximum efficiency. Finland’s power generation, transmission and distribution systems are highly efficient and the price of electricity is among the lowest in Europe.

When it comes to sustainable use of natural resources, Finland is one of the best in the world. Energy production from solid biomass, biogas and wind power has increased in recent years. Currently, 38 % of energy in Finland is produced from renewable sources. Power generation is decentralized across more than 400 power stations, which use several different production technologies and raw materials. This diversified approach ensures a very stable energy supply and has kept the price of electricity, natural gas, wood and peat at a competitive level.

Introduction of major Finnish cultural performances for the Centennial this year in Finland and Korea:

May (tbc): Finland-Korea Education seminar

June 19-25: Finland Week in Jeju

August 30-31: Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu

September 3-10: Iiro Rantala, a Finnish jazz-pianist, concert

October (tbc): Finland-Korea Investment event

October 24-25: Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Seoul Arts Center

September-November: Moomin Exhibition, in celebration of 100 year Finnish independence, Seoul Arts Center

Nov. 30-Dec. 2: Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vänskä

Yoo Heui-jin  edt@koreapost.com

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