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News, 4/2/2008

Sustainable development goal joins Finland and Mexico

In Minister Väyrynen’s opinion, Finland and Mexico have very similar views on the principles of sustainable development. This creates a good base for continued forest industry cooperation. Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen made an export promotion trip to Mexico from 30 March to 1 April. The minister was accompanied by a broad-ranging business delegation of more than 30 people representing fields ranging from health and information technology sectors to mining, the environment and energy sectors. The chairman of the business delegation was Harri Kerminen, CEO of Kemira Group.

During the visit, the business opportunities Mexico offers to Finland were discussed widely, the know-how represented by the companies participating in the business delegation was presented, and contacts were forged with Mexican officials and corporate representatives. About 30 Finnish companies have operations in Mexico, and 13 companies have a production plant there. Minister Väyrynen also encouraged Finnish companies to invest in Mexico.

In addition to his host, Secretary of the Economy Eduardo Sojo, Väyrynen met with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Patricia Espinosa, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Juan Rafael Elvira, Secretary of Social Development Ernesto Cordero and Secretary of the Navy Mariano Saynez.

Sustainable development a bond

The strong commitment of Mexicans to sustainable ecological, social and economic development was apparent during the visit. In talks with the Mexican Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources and the Secretary of Social Development, the Finnish delegation heard that the focal points of sustainable development are sustainable use of forests, development of water sanitation systems and launching of biofuel production.

Minister Väyrynen pointed out that the Finnish and Mexican views on the principles of sustainable development were very similar, which creates a good base for continued cooperation between the two countries, started, for instance, in the forest industry.

A market of opportunities

The economy of Mexico has been stable in recent years, and the country attracts the largest share of direct foreign investments made in Central America. As a market area, the increasingly prosperous country with its population topping 100 million offers many opportunities for new companies, which is seen in Finnish companies’ growing interest in the region. Mexico also offers Finnish companies a good springboard for other areas of Latin America.

The bulk of Mexican trade still takes place with its NAFTA partner, the United States, but there is a clear wish to diversify and expand trade relations outside North America, and Finnish investments and business operations are more than welcome in Mexico. The Global Agreement between Mexico and the European Union that entered into force in 2000, with its free trade clause, provides an excellent base for bilateral trade between Finland and Mexico. According to Customs statistics, Finland’s exports to Mexico last year came to nearly 200 million euros. The growth rate was 10 per cent. Imports rose even more sharply, by 21 per cent, and totalled 247 million euros.

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Updated 4/4/2008

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