Foreign trade in national accounts 

Updated: 13.7.2017 - Next update: 31.1.2018
The volume of exports increased by 1.3 per cent in 2016 and that of imports grew by 4.4 per cent. Import prices declined by clearly more than export prices, imports at current prices increased while exports contracted slightly. Exports of goods decreased but the value of imports of goods increased. Exports and imports of services remained at last year’s level.

Statistics Finland / Annual national accounts

Description of indicator

Exports of goods and services consist of transactions in goods and services (sales, barter, gifts or grants) from residents to non-residents.

Imports of goods and services consist of transactions in goods and services (purchases, barter, gifts or grants) from non-residents to residents.

The development of foreign trade has a key influence on national economic conditions and on the balance of general government finances. Foreign trade, moreover, forms a significant part of Finland’s GDP. In addition to growth of the economy and trade, the development of foreign trade measures at the same time the competitiveness of Finland’s industry and business sector operating conditions and their attractiveness for the investments of international companies. The internationalisation of companies has a key role in the development of Finland’s labour market and industry. Efforts are made to increase foreign trade by investing in the business sector’s research and development and by supporting new growth sectors. The global growth of trade has wide implications for the stability of the Finnish economy, because foreign trade brings investment and jobs to Finland and simultaneously activates domestic business activity.

Foreign trade is affected by, among other things, global economic trends, fluctuations in aggregate demand, the general trend of prices, the competitiveness of the national tax system, and legislation regulating international trade. National room for manoeuvre in international markets and the ability to control the development of trade have declined dramatically in recent years. Due to altered economic conditions, internationalisation of markets, EU integration and membership of the Economic and Monetary Union, national economic policy will be increasingly influenced in future by industrial policy measures.

The public administration’s goal is to maintain stable and sustainable economic growth. Growth will be sought particularly by promoting the ability of businesses and the country as a whole to prosper in international market competition. In future, Finland’s economic growth and employment can be influenced by developing the business operating environment and by promoting the efficiency and flexibility of the labour market. The internationalisation of businesses needs the support of a tax system that favours investment and employment, public investment, and research and development that generates expertise and growth. In fostering business activity, the growth of SMEs’ in particular will have a key role to play in the growth of the whole business sector and in changing the operating environment for business and industry, because SMEs represent a large part of Finland’s entire business sector and at the same time a significant proportion of Finland’s exports.