Finland ranked as the 3rd competitive economy in the world – how about Central Finland?

By Hanna-Maija Kiviranta


Hanna-Maija Kiviranta

We are doing excellent! Finland moved up one place in World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness report reaching the 3rd position in the list of the top 10 competitive economies in the world.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, Finnish economy has had small improvements in a number of areas. Finland occupies the top position both in the health and primary education as well as in the higher education and training thanks to strong focus on education over recent decades. This has provided the workforce with the skills needed to adapt rapidly to a changing environment and has laid the groundwork for high levels of technological adoption and innovation.

We are one of the most innovative countries in Europe, ranking 2nd, behind only Switzerland. Improving our capacity to adopt the latest technologies (ranked 25th) could lead to important synergies that in turn could corroborate Finland’s position as one of the world’s most innovative economies. (Source: The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013)

According to the economic review by research institute of Finnish economy, ETLA, the international economic outlook is uncertain; the euro area is entering a mild recession while Finland’s GDP will grow by 0.9 per cent in 2012. The rise in food and housing prices will slow down; Finnish consumer prices will increase by 2.7 per cent in 2012 while the modest improvement in purchasing power will dampen private consumption growth possibilities. Business investment will decline in 2012 as exports weaken; it is expected to increase next year. The decline in the rate of unemployment will come to a halt in 2012. (Source: ETLA Suhdanne 2012/1)

In this tightening competitive environment overloaded by economic depression in the Euro area, especially the Finnish technology companies have faced ever increasing complexity and increased competition. There have been increases in various levels of taxation according to complexity of manufacturing and other operational decisions, increases in skilled labor costs and not the least, increases in logistics costs of export manufacturing companies due to the new environmental regulations, particularly the sulphur directive in the EU. Moreover, in its traditional export areas with strong engineering knowledge and trade foundations like forest, metal and electronics industries, Finland needs to increase new areas of international trade, such as educational services, health services as well as other knowledge- and creativity-intensive services independent of the manufacturing origin. Those are the key areas of interest and development in Central-Finland region as well.

The total balance of trade in Finland has been deficit from October 2011 until October 2012. However, when you take a closer look at the balance of trade in various Finnish regions, the export surplus dominates in all regions except Uusimaa (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa) region where 61,5% of total imports and 27,7% of total exports of Finland are generated. Moreover, according to Finnish custom’s foreign trade statistics review, Central-Finland’s exports in 2011 totaled 2 433 million euros with +13,7% change, and its imports totaled 833 million euros with +16% change compared to previous year. So, there has been strong growth in international trade in Central-Finland. However, the challenge remains to look for the potentials of trade growth in especially export of services and import of goods in Central-Finland, now being less than 6% of the total trade in Finland. (Source: Finnish customs’ foreign trade statistics)

JAMK centre for competitiveness is dedicated to increase the knowledge of global business environment, provide education and networks for private companies and Finnish public sector to recognize their competitive edges and models for export and import operations in various market-areas. We are up to create a continuous educational platform for dialogue to support global business trade, decrease the challenges and barriers of foreign trade and increase the learning and business trade results with the help of our professional partner networks such as TCI and Michael Porter’s microeconomics of competitiveness (MoC) at Harvard Business School.

Welcome to join us to develop sustainable growth, entrepreneurship and innovation for businesses to increase international trade to enhance competitiveness and prosperity in Central-Finland! Learn more about us at and

TCI is the leading global network for practitioners, policy makers, researchers and business leaders working towards improving competitiveness in regions and clusters. Read more about JAMK Centre for Competitiveness as the part of the TCI network:

Read the complete report of World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness for 2012-2013 at

Look for Finnish customs’ foreign trade statistics at