Minister Mika Lintilä: New cooperative partnership of China and Finland
China and Finland together; for future-oriented cooperative partnership - economical seminar Kemi, 11 October 2017
Dear Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to open this seminar about future cooperation between China and Finland. I am excited to see so many of you here today to discuss how this bilateral partnership could be further developed.
The relationship between our two countries is long-standing and pragmatic. In fact, Finland was one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic ties with China in 1950. Three years later, Finland and China signed a historic trade agreement. It was the first bilateral trade agreement ever signed between China and a Western country.
The year 2017 is a very special year for Finland as we are celebrating the centenary of our independence. President Xi Jinping honored this anniversary by visiting Finland in April.
During this visit, presidents of both countries signed a Joint Declaration to establish and promote new type of cooperative relationship between Finland and China. It includes sectors such as energy, education, ICT, tourism and winter sports.
We also decided to establish a committee for innovative business cooperation. The aim of the committee is to open new business opportunities for companies from both countries. The first meeting of the committee was held this June, when Mr. Juha Sipilä, Prime Minister of Finland, visited China.
These many high-level visits have given us opportunity to deepen our relations with concrete proposals and steps.
China is the most important trading partner for Finland in Asia and the fifth largest overall. Around 350 companies from Finland have representation in China.
Finland has traditionally been strong in ICT, paper and pulp industry. However, nowadays there are more and more opportunities for Finnish companies in clean energy and bioeconomy. We are able to provide with pragmatic solutions to global challenges like climate change and urbanization.
Besides active bilateral trade, direct investments are also warmly welcomed. The Government is very committed in making the process of investing in Finland as easy as possible. It has been good to see that Chinese investments to Finland have increased rapidly during this past year.
We can offer Chinese investors an open society with highly-skilled workforce, efficient public institutions and outstanding R&D and innovation system. Finland is also an excellent entry point to the wider European market.
Finland is world leader in bioeconomy due to our abundant natural resources and know-how. For example, Chinese company Kaidi is planning to invest to second generation bio refinery in Kemi because of this world-class expertise and our renewable resources.
Because of our forestry resources, EU regulation concerning land use and forestry is very important to Finland. The recent LULUCF voting result of the European Parliament was an important step in the right direction.
If the European Union wants to play a leading role in combining actions against climate change and economic development, sustainable use of forests must be allowed. Wood is an important industrial and energy material. Forest based biomass and biofuels also play an important role in Finland’s ambitious energy strategy that aims to phase out the use of coal by 2030.
One of the most important aspects of today’s Sino-Finnish relations is active cultural exchange. Especially tourism has witnessed a new peak. Last year, there was an increase of 27 percent of Chinese travellers to Finland. This at least partly thanks to the good flight connections between our countries.
Travelling offers memorable experiences and a chance to see different parts of the world. However, it is also an important way to develop better understanding of each other. I hope to see many more Chinese visitors in Finland in the years to come.
Finally, I would like to thank the City of Kemi and Foundation of Culture and Science Kemi 2000 for organizing this event. It is my pleasure open this seminar and I look forward to lively discussions with all of you.
Thank you! Xie Xie