labels: economy - general, trade
India and Finland to strengthen trade tiesnews
13 March 2006

Chennai: India and Finland are likely to sign air services bilateral agreement shortly. This would enable direct flights between the two countries. "The shortest way to Europe from India is through Finland," said the Finnish prime minister Matti Vanhanen. According to him a direct flight from Helsinki to New Delhi will soon be operational.

In addition, Finland is looking for trade agreements in the areas like healthcare. "India is strong in healthcare, tourism, engineering and technology. Finland is strong in mobile phone technology, paper and windmills. We are exploring possibilities of trade in these areas," added Susanna Huovinen, the Finnish minister for Transport and Communication. According to her, next October, the first direct flight from Helsinki to New Delhi will be operational.

A Finnish delegation under the leadership of Vanhanen is on a six day visit to India. The Finland prime minister and the transport and communication minister came to Chennai to inaugurate the Nokia mobile phone plant and to unveil the plaque to mark the starting of a new plant of Kone Elevator India Private Limited.

Interestingly Vanhanen is the first Finnish prime minister in the last two decades to visit India. This assumes significance as Finland will be assuming the presidency of the European Union this year. He will be meeting the Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders in the capital.

To a query on Finland's attitude towards globalisation, with the European Union resorting to erecting barriers to cut down imports from low-cost production countries and opposing cross border acquisition of European companies such as example Mittal Steel's bid for Arcelor, Vanhanen said, "We strongly believe and support open markets."

He also said that Finnish companies are increasingly interested in the Asian market. "Even a small acceleration of growth in populated countries like India or China triggers large additional demand, including in construction." According to him, only companies that are strong in the large growing markets may sustain their business also in Finland.

There are over 30 Finnish ventures in India and the most notable amongst them are Wartsila Diesel, Kone Elevators and Nokia.

Incidentally, Vanhanen is a former journalist. And his father Dr Tatu Vanhanen along with Dr Richard Lynn authored the book IQ and the Wealth of Nations. The core theme of the book is that a nation's wealth (per capita gross domestic product) is related to the nation's average IQ. According to the authors, the IQ estimate for India is 81. The first rank is for Hong Kong with an IQ estimate of 107.

 search domain-b
India and Finland to strengthen trade ties