Presidents Donald Trump and Sauli Niinistö affirmed the close relationship between Finland and the United States at a joint press conference held at the White House on 28 August 2017. Niinistö described the relations as “broader than ever, ranging from security to defence cooperation, to trade and innovation”.
Trump praised Finland for its commitment to the security of the Baltic Sea region and active role in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also congratulated the Finnish people on the country’s 100 years of independence, pledging USD 500,000 to the Fullbright Finland Foundation in honour of the centennial celebrations.
“The visit went very well. The good relations also provide an excellent basis for further developing economic cooperation between the countries,” says Tomi Rauste, Team Finland Coordinator and Vice President, Head of Region Americas.
Active trade and investment
Trump commended Finnish companies for “bringing new technologies and good jobs” to America. According to the U.S. International Trade Administration, the value of direct investment by Finnish companies in the United States was USD 13.3 billion by the end of 2015. Finnish companies that have made major investment in the United States include Kemira Group, Nokia, Marimekko, Luvata, Arc’teryx Equipment, Moventas, Winpak, Ahlström, Metso Corporation, and Idean.
Two-way trade between the U.S. and Finland was about USD 6.1 billion in 2015, consisting chiefly of medicine and medical equipment, paper and paperboard, aircraft, chemicals, and telecommunications and advanced instruments, according to the U.S. Embassy in Finland.
Finland offers outstanding R&D location
Finland already serves as a global R&D hub for many international businesses, including American companies GE Health, Google, IBM, Intel, John Deere and Microsoft.
“R&D features strongly in Finland’s profile as an investment location. If a major American company is looking for leading high tech expertise, it will find the required businesses, know-how and a highly skilled workforce in Finland. There is no need to go looking for it around Europe,” says Rauste.
Finnish health tech and bio innovations offer particularly attractive R&D opportunities for American companies, according to Rauste. The Finnish R&D environment is also very competitive in terms of price. The cost of a 20-member R&D unit is 50 percent lower in Finland than in Silicon Valley.
Finnish cyber security expertise
Trump described Finland as “a leading expert in cyber security” and the United States as a proud partner of the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, which is based in Helsinki.
Finland and the United States signed a new agreement on 26 September 2017 on research cooperation that will be created between the new Cyber Research Institute to be based in Oulu, and the US National Science Foundation’s ‘Industry University Cooperative Research Center’ Program.
The agreement was made at the Final Result Seminar of DIMECC’s Cyber Trust Program in Helsinki. The Cyber Trust includes leading companies like Bittium, F-Secure, Ericsson and Nokia as well as top Finnish universities and research institutions. The program was initiated with the Finnish National Cyber Strategy in 2015.
“From the first wave of Finnish cyber security companies, many were acquired by American companies. The new wave of emerging companies from Finland has top-notch security innovations to offer in the constant race with cyber criminals,” says Rauste.