Finland and Sweden join forces to promote food exports
Finland and Sweden have taken a unique step to expand export cooperation in the food sector. Collaboration between public authorities and export promotion organisations supports the aim of both countries to significantly increase food exports, open new markets for exports, and improve the competitive position of Finland and Sweden relative to their European neighbours. Jari Leppä, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland, and Sven-Erik Bucht, Minister for Rural Affairs of Sweden, published the plan on export cooperation in the food sector at Hanaholmen, Esbo on 18 April 2018.
“When preparing this cooperation plan we have tried to identify the common strengths that make us something unique and different on the global food and beverage market. The standard of food and consumer safety is very high in both countries. We share the same excellent animal and plant health situation and same values, in particular, with regard to animal welfare and prudent use of antibiotics”, Minister Leppä said at the publication event.
Common to both countries are also raw materials from pure nature, utilisation of natural products, and high degree of innovation in the food sector. One of the first concrete actions is cooperation to facilitate the export of bilberry and lingonberry products to China.
“On the global scale we are both small players on the food market. The key to our success on the growth markets must be founded on high-quality, reliable and ethical food products. Through collaboration the two countries can take advantage of each other’s expertise and networks and stand out better from the crowd”, says Hentriikka Kontio, Senior Veterinary Adviser at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Public bodies and companies work side by side
Minister Leppä is very happy about the plan. “Finland has invested a lot in export promotion in recent years. The plan to increase Finnish-Swedish cooperation in exports opens new opportunities to work together, reach new export markets and increase export volumes”, he said.
In Finland food exports are promoted in cooperation between the Food from Finland programme of Business Finland, Export Team of the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. In future the Finnish and Swedish export promotion bodies will meet on a regular basis to exchange information and experiences and decide on joint actions.
In 2018 they will launch a common Nordic Business Days event targeted to wholesale buyers in Hong Kong. Opportunities for cooperation are also sought in logistics, including in the form of shared shipping containers. To find new markets, opportunities are mapped out to create a joint e-commerce solution for the needs of Finnish and Swedish companies. There will also be information exchange between export permit authorities and sharing of best practices.
Hentriikka Kontio, Senior Veterinary Adviser, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. +358 40 731 2260, hentriikka.kontio(at)mmm.fi
Risto Lahti, Special Adviser to the Minister, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. +358 50 565 0424, risto.lahti(at)mmm.fi
Esa Wrang, Head of Industry, Food from Finland, Business Finland, tel. +358 40 024 3076, esa.wrang(at)businessfinland.fi
Thimjos Ninios, Head of Unit, Finnish Food Safety Authority/ Evira Export, tel. +358 40 194 2446, thimjos.ninios(at)evira.fi