The Council for Foreign Investors established by the Finnish government has started its work in May, chaired by Jan Vapaavuori, Minister for Economic Affairs. The aim of the council is to collect information from international companies operating in Finland regarding investment promotion, and about Finland’s strengths and weaknesses as an investment location. The council will also help to promote follow-up investments from foreign companies already established in Finland.
The council will also provide an information and lobbying channel for foreign investors. It is hoped that the members of the council will also act as ambassadors for further investments to Finland and spread the positive image of Finland abroad. The council includes companies from 14 countries.
The Finnish government decided to establish the council last year as part of its strategy to promote foreign investments. The council operates in close cooperation with Invest in Finland and other organisations promoting investments.
EUR 20 billion target
According to the government, Finland needs to increase foreign investments from the current level in order to boost its economic growth. In 2011, the value of foreign investments in Finland was slightly over EUR 60 billion or 31% of GDP, compared to the EU average of 41%. The government’s target is for Finland to overtake the EU average level by the year 2020. This would mean an increase of about EUR 20 billion to the existing base of foreign investments.
Investment promotion measures will be focused especially on investments that bring economic growth, increase employment and strengthen Finland’s knowledge base. In terms of sectors, the emphases will be on environmental business activities, ICT, and the extractive industry. Geographically, resources will be directed particularly to companies from the United States, Russia and China.