The forest industry is again Finland's largest export sector. According to official statistics released in March, wood and paper industry accounted for 21,7 per cent of Finland's total exports. Exports were boosted, in particular, by demand for pulp and paperboard. The last time this happened was in 2010.
The second-largest sector of Finland's exports was machine and automotive industry, whose share was 21 per cent. The third largest export sector in 2015 was chemical industry, which accounted for 18,8 per cent of the country's exports.
Investments in the forest industry have also picked up. However, Finland still needs to improve its competitiveness.
"Finnish manufacturers are suffering from high labour costs and the labour markets remain rigid. Additionally, we need to secure industrial peace through an urgent reform. Illegal strikes and sympathy strikes are not a problem in other exporting countries," says Timo Jaatinen, Director General of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.
Over the next ten years, a quarter of the employees in the forest industry will be retiring. Managing an ageing workforce is therefore a significant challenge for the Finnish companies.
"The Government must ensure that enough new professionals are educated. At same time, demand for wood is growing. Our goal of strengthening supply calls for ambitious decisions," says Jaatinen.
The total value of forest industry exports grew last year by 2.9 per cent to 11,6 billion euros. This amount includes products of the carpentry industry.
Ninety per cent of the exports are shipped by sea.
"Finland should not accept any unequally targeted maritime, environment or other regulations that would harm the competitiveness of the Finnish industry," says Jaatinen.