Export promotion and internationalisation (EPI)
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Finnish diplomatic and consular missions abroad monitor and promote Finland's economic interests abroad. The geographically wide network of diplomatic and consular missions abroad, in cooperation with other EPI actors, provides companies with public services related to export promotion and internationalisation.
Our services are designed to help all businesses engaged in export or investment projects with a Finnish interest. This may be related to not only export promotion but also the encouragement of Finnish business activities abroad and support for foreign technology transfers to and investment in Finland.
Companies are welcome to use the services of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Helsinki and also the exceptionally wide network of diplomatic and consular missions abroad (embassies, consulates general and consulates), consisting of about 100 service points with Finnish staff in different parts of the world. Depending on the resources and local conditions, services in different countries vary in terms of the availability and range of services.
Influencing the external operational environment
Influencing the external operational environment means, for example, efforts to remove customs duties and non-tariff barriers to trade. In cooperation with Finnish companies, we explore barriers to trade and take measures to eliminate them. Problems can be solved through direct bilateral contacts, inter alia, on ministerial level export promotion and internationalisation visits, through the European Commission or through multilateral cooperation. Several modes of operation can also be pursued simultaneously.
In addition to the market access work, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs aims at facilitating imports. The objective is to ensure that unnecessary barriers are not imposed on imports, especially on imports from developing countries to Finland.
Investment protection agreements have been negotiated with different countries in order to protect Finnish companies' investments abroad.
Promotional activities are used "to open doors" for companies and to help them establish contacts with the authorities and businesses in host countries. These prestige services play a significant role in many countries. A mission may, for example, agree to arrange a promotional event for a company in its premises. It is advisable to contact the mission in good time about the arrangement of such an event.
Honorary consuls whose functions are supervised by the embassies can also help companies find the necessary business contacts. The embassies can also otherwise help companies network and the companies can establish direct contacts with missions.
Visits at the ministerial and senior official level involve the EPI dimension (including cultural exports) whenever possible. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and its diplomatic and consular missions take part in the preparation of official visits to and from Finland and take account of the companies' wishes. Finpro takes principal responsibility for the business delegations. Whether or not the visits have proved fruitful for the companies involved is followed, for example, by arranging feedback sessions at the invitation of the minister.
Through the information service, the expertise accumulated by the network of missions concerning the political and economic development of the host countries is transferred to the companies' use. Information is also passed on during trips to the provinces and seminars organised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Country information is also available in the Kauppapolitiikka magazine and the Maailman markkinat publication, which relies on information obtained from the missions abroad.
Information about the development policy instruments used by companies is also disseminated through the Ministry. The Ministry's new business partnership programme is administered by Finnfund and information about concessional credits can be obtained from the website of Finnvera. In cooperation with Finpro's Project Advisory Services, information is provided about projects carried out by international organisations and financial institutions. Projects can be conducted not only in the actual developing countries but also in Europe, both in the new Member States and in the candidate countries. The Ministry's appropriations targeted at support for the neighbouring areas can be used for projects undertaken by companies in the neighbouring areas.
The missions abroad answer to commercial and economic enquiries in cooperation with the local representative of Finpro. The Finpro representative has the principal responsibility for responding to the questions placed by companies. Provided that Finpro is not represented in the host country, the mission answers to or redirects the enquirer to another service point. In many cases, Finpro's website has the relevant information.
The missions distribute information about Finland to various places in the host country and in various ways contribute to increasing knowledge about and respect for Finland in the country of posting. This takes place by means of distributing information material, such as brochures, videos, etc., which are often made available in the language of the host country, too. The same material can be used to further companies' projects in a manner that is separately agreed upon. A convenient source of information is the ThisisFINLAND website, which is maintained by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Finnish missions abroad can also help companies, which have established operations abroad or sales representatives of companies who either reside or travel abroad, by means of providing them consular and counselling services. Further information about these services is available on the websites of the missions
The service points of the Finnish diplomatic and consular missions abroad do not, as a rule, provide consultants' services or similar assistance nor do they produce market reports or make market analyses. This work is done by, for example, Finpro and other corresponding Finnish or foreign actors or consultants.
The services are premised on the general idea that the public EPI services, provided by the missions abroad, are free of charge for companies. Provided that the services entail clear, specifiable extra costs for the mission, such as travel and hotel expenses, meals, interpreter services, research, investigation and expert services, etc., the service requirer is charged the expenses based on the provisions of the decree of the Ministry for Foreign Aiffairs on Fees for Services Produced by the Foreign Service.
For example, the arrangement of a promotional event normally leads also to partly or totally chargeable expenses to cover such services as rents and catering. It is advisable to agree about them with the mission in advance. In case a promotional even is arranged to further the interests of a particular private company only, the expenses arising from the arrangements are charged from the company in full, but if a company is involved in an event which promotes EPI work in general, the distribution of the expenses between the parties can be agreed upon separately.
NB. Consular services are normally subject to a fee.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and especially the Department for External Economic Relations and the regional divisions in charge of issues related to different geographical areas advice companies, for their part, in matters concerning the promotion of exports and internationalisation. The regional divisions have profound knowledge about the countries they deal with. The regional divisions are also responsible for the development, control and guidance of the management of these matters in the Finnish diplomatic and consular missions abroad.
E-mail addresses of the Ministry employees are composed as follows: email@example.com
Department for External Economic Relations
Manu Virtamo, Ambassador, EPI Coordinator
tel. (09) 1605 5795
Attaché, Administrative Affairs, EPI issues
tel. (09) 1605 6478
Barriers to trade
Unit for Market Access
tel. (09) 1605 6528
Please inform us of your internationalisation plans and trade barriers: Inform us of your internationalisation plans and trade barriers
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