The forest products industry is Finland’s largest export sector, according to official statistics released in March. Wood and paper products accounted for 21.7% of Finland’s total exports. The total value of forest industry exports grew last year by 2.9% to EUR11.6 billion (including products of the carpentry industry). 2015 exports also rose due to increased demand for pulp and paperboard, a boost since 2010.
While investments in the forest industry have also picked up, Finland still needs to improve its competitiveness.
“Finnish manufacturers are suffering from high labour costs and the labour markets remain rigid. Additionally, we need to secure industrial peace through an urgent reform. Illegal strikes and sympathy strikes are not a problem in other exporting countries,” says Timo Jaatinen, director general of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
Over the next 10 years, a quarter of the employees in the forest industry will be retiring. Managing an ageing workforce is therefore a significant challenge for the Finnish companies.
“The Government must ensure that enough new professionals are educated. At same time, demand for wood is growing. Our goal of strengthening supply calls for ambitious decisions,” says Jaatinen.
90% of all exports are shipped by sea.
“Finland should not accept any unequally targeted maritime, environment or other regulations that would harm the competitiveness of the Finnish industry,” says Jaatinen.