By Gavin Gibbon
Around 50 Finnish companies have an office or a regional centre in the UAE, according to the country's ambassador
Expo 2020 Dubai can provide the perfect platform for Finland to increase its presence in the region, according to the country’s ambassador to the UAE, Marianne Nissilä.
Exports to the UAE from the Scandinavian nation were worth 242.4 million Euros ($263.7m) in 2018. “It’s a considerable amount considering the size of the two countries,” Nissilä told Arabian Business.
Finnish exports have traditionally consisted of mobile phones, telephone networks, cranes, elevators and other machinery and equipment.
In 2018, the largest export products were paper and cardboard products, specialty machines of various industries, other electrical machinery and equipment, plastics, iron and steel, industrial machinery and equipment, power machines and engines, telephone, radio and television equipment, and timber and cork.
However, Nissilä, who took up her post in Abu Dhabi on June 1 last year, is keen to see further exports of health technology and education.
She said: “I see that there is potential for a lot more. Expo is one way to try to discover how to move forward and succeed in working together and if we can do that I think we can take economic relations and trade to a completely new level.”
Imports from the UAE to Finland, meanwhile, have been modest - about $11 million per year - and has mainly been composed of plastic and textile products. In 2018, the largest imports were electronics, textiles and food products.
“Expo is very important for Finland in reaching out to the Middle East region, the Gulf region, to the UAE and to Dubai,” said Nissilä.
There are over 1,400 Finns living in the UAE, while about 50 Finnish companies have an office or a regional centre in the country.
The 1,867 square metre Finland pavilion, Snow Cape, based within Expo 2020 Dubai’s Mobility District, is being part-funded by the Finnish Government and half by 100 partner companies.
Out of the 173 days over which the expo will run, from October 20 this year to April 10, 2021, Finland has already booked 130 days of events at the pavilion, where the partner companies can showcase their offerings to invited guests.
Mika Lintilä, Minister of Economic Affairs of Finland, admitted trade relations “could be better”, but hoped expo would act as a catalyst for improvement.
“As we know quite well, globally there is a lot of money and we try to find a parking place,” he told Arabian Business. “I think we have companies here (UAE) who can offer parking places.”For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.