Honorary Consuls of Australia and New Zealand visiting Finland
Seven Honorary Consuls along with their spouses are visiting Finland on 26 - 30 July. The visit is hosted by Finland’s Ambassador to Australia Glen Lindholm, Consul Pirjo Leino from Sydney, as well as the Unit for Asia and Oceania of the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The main theme of the visit is promotion of bilateral trade.
The theme is strongly reflected in the meetings of the Honorary Consuls: the programme includes a meeting with the President of Finland, discussions with Head of the Department for External Economic Relations and a visit to Finpro and Finnvera. Honorary Consuls will also visit the cities of Turku and Helsinki and meet the mayors of the cities.
Finland’s relations with Australia and New Zealand are particularly warm. Australia is also an important trading partner to Finland, and Finland's exports to Australia increased by up to 12 percent during the past year, despite the economic crisis. In particular, forestry, the telecommunications sector and a variety of machinery have been successful in the Australian market. Opportunities for expansion are vast, inter alia Finland’s arising cleantech sector.
The Honorary Consuls are successful leaders in their own field, actively involved in local business as well as in international trade. Therefore, they promote the bilateral trade between Finland and the area they represent through an extensive network of contacts and representation. Their role as Honorary Consuls has recently gone through a major reform. Their task is still an important one because Finland’s Diplomatic Missions are only located in Canberra and Sydney. The ongoing visit seeks to promote new ideas and opportunities in developing the existing cooperation.
Previously, the work of Honorary Consuls included the issuing of passports. Since the reform in 2006, passports are only issued for Australia and the neighbouring countries in the Consulate of Sydney, due to the inclusion of biometric identifiers in the new passports. This year, fingerprints are also included in the passports issued. Matters concerning Finnish immigrants and tourists are also centred in the Consulate of Finland in Sydney. Up to thirty thousand people who have Finnish roots live in Australia and New Zealand.