Greetings from The Embassy of Finland

Dear Members of the Finnish Business Council Shanghai,

It would be an understatement to say that we live in unprecedented times, but here we are. The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has created a global health crisis that has had a deep impact on the way we perceive our world and our everyday lives. Quite early on, we woke up also to the impact the COVID-19 virus was having on the global economy. Even when the short-term effects end, the long-term economic impact will ripple for years. This transformation process has indeed been unprecedented in its speed and scale.

An exceptional degree of uncertainty surrounds current forecasts, as assessments of the duration of virus mitigation measures change. What is clear, however, is that also the Finnish economy is experiencing a sharp contraction because of the pandemic. The global economy drifts into recession this year, and the economies of Finland’s most important trading partners – China among them – will suffer considerably.

Challenges that we are facing every day now are immense. However, some basic things have not changed. Many times Finland has been touted as a model example of economic performance, competitiveness, technologies and innovations, among other things. These are our strengths still today. I am convinced that in China there is a real demand for high quality, sustainable and industry defining innovations, services and investments from our country in the future as well. At the same time, we have to understand, that the competition in the Chinese markets will become even more intensive.

Another fact that still holds up is that Sino-Finnish relations are excellent. This is appropriate as we mark this year the 70th Anniversary of our diplomatic relations. I am convinced that both China and Finland will greatly benefit from close cooperation in various sectors, including business.

Finnish Business Council Shanghai is an invaluable member of the Team Finland China. The mission of our Team Finland China network is very simple. Together we are doing our utmost to ensure that Finnish companies are given the best possible circumstances for making the most of the opportunities in the Chinese market. Finnish Business Council Shanghai, like other Business Councils in China and the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, bring the voice of companies to our work. Under the current circumstances, it is important, more than before, to listen to companies and their needs.

As Country Director of the Team Finland China, I have made sure that the relations with our counterparts here in China, including different authorities and ministries, associations, companies, etc., have remained intact during these difficult times. These close ties are definitely needed now when we keep moving forward. Let’s continue our great cooperation to grow Finnish businesses in China!

Jarno Syrjälä

Ambassador of Finland to China