Finland Economy  

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FINLAND
GDP: $171.7 billion .
GDP growth rate: 4.9%.
Per capita income: $32,800 .
Inflation rate: 1.6%.

Budget: Income .............. $33 Billion
Expenditure ... $40 Billion

Main Crops:
Cereals, sugar beets, potatoes; dairy cattle; fish.

Natural Resources: Timber, copper, zinc, iron ore, silver

Major Industries: Metal products, shipbuilding, pulp and paper, copper refining, foodstuffs, chemicals, textiles, clothing

NATIONAL GNP

Finland has an industrial economy based on abundant forest resources, capital investments, and high technology. Traditionally, Finland has been a net importer of capital to finance industrial growth; in recent years it has become a net exporter of capital. Finland has one of the best performing economies in the EU and Europe.

The Finnish economy has made enormous strides since the severe recession of the early 1990s. Finland successfully joined the euro zone and has outperformed euro-area partners in terms of economic growth and public finance. Even under the difficult circumstances of the last 2 years, the Finnish economy has performed reasonably well-- though the pace of activity has slowed considerably and remains subject to volatility. Finnish GDP growth slowed sharply from 5.1% in 2000 to 1.2% in 2001, largely as a result of a collapse in exports. The economy picked up slightly in 2002, when GDP growth amounted to 2.2%. In 2003, slow international economic growth has had a pronounced impact on Finland, as on other countries, by way of the export sector. In the first quarter of 2003, total output was markedly smaller than in the previous quarter and exceeded the level of 2 years ago only by a narrow margin. Nevertheless, growth appears to have picked up over the spring and summer, and recent tax decisions together with the expected upswing in the international economy toward the end of the year will bolster stronger growth. The 1.2% growth in total output that is forecast for 2003 will come by and large from services. Both industrial and construction production will come in at roughly the volumes reported last year. Growth is forecast at 1.1% in 2003 and 2.5% in 2004.

Unemployment has decreased significantly since 1994; however, the current 9.1% unemployment rate (2002) remains above the EU average. A relatively inflexible labor market and high employer-paid social security taxes hamper growth in employment.

Exports of goods and services contribute 38% of Finland's GDP. Metals and engineering (including electronics) and timber (including pulp and paper) are Finland's main industries. The United States is Finland's most important trading partner outside of Europe. With a 6.6% share of imports in 2002, the United States is Finland's fourth- largest supplier after Germany, Sweden, and Russia. The total value of U.S. exports to Finland in 2002 was $2.2 billion. Major exports from the United States to Finland continue to be machinery, telecommunications equipment and parts, aircraft and aircraft parts, computers, peripherals and software, electronic components, chemicals, medical equipment, and some agricultural products. The primary competition for American companies comes from European suppliers, especially German, Swedish, and British. The main export items from Finland to the United States are ships and boats, paper and paperboard, refined petroleum products, telecommunications equipment and parts, and automobiles. In 2002, the United States was Finland's third-largest customer after Germany (11.8%) and the U.K. (9.6%) with an export share of 8.9%, or $4.0 billion. However, trade is only part of the totality: the 10 biggest Finnish companies in the United States have a combined turnover that is three times the value of Finland's total exports to the United States. About 4% of the Finnish GDP comes from exports to the United States.

Except for timber and several minerals, Finland depends on imported raw materials, energy, and some components for its manufactured products. Farms tend to be small, but farmers own sizable timber stands that are harvested for supplementary income in winter. The country's main agricultural products are dairy, meat, and grains. Finland's EU accession has accelerated the process of restructuring and downsizing of this sector.