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Speeches, 11/5/2015

Opening statement by minister Toivakka in a panel discussion at the Global Cleantech Summit

Opening statement by minister Toivakka
Panel discussion "Cleantech in the Nordic Countries" at the Global Cleantech Summit 8 September 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to be here today to discuss cleantech in Nordic countries.

And you know why. Because we are excellent in Cleantech. For example in the latest Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2014 Finland is second, Sweden fourth and Denmark fifth. (Iceland tenth and Norway fourteenth). Which other region can say that?

This is why I was surprised to learn that, in the environmental goods and services statistics of the latest years none us, the Nordic countries has excelled. The Cleantech exports out of each country have not increased. According to the consultants, the global Cleantech markets continue growing quite fast, which means that the Nordic countries have lost their market share. I am wondering why this has happened, as our products and services are world leaders?

I was the Minister responsible for Nordic co-operation in our previous government. Something I noticed was that in the eyes of other, more distant countries, the Nordic countries are often considered as one market. This means also that the Nordic region is considered as one and same origin of goods and services. To me this is a strength as we have worked a lot together. We have a common Nordic Cleantech office in Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates. Common Cleantech actions have been and will be taken in New York, Mexico City, Paris, Shanghai and so on. Actually I will myself participate to an event called “Nordic Efficiency” in Paris next month, promoting our cleantech know-how.

We think the co-operation of the Nordic countries is an important possibility to develop cleantech trade, invest in and reference activities. What is also important to notice is that joint projects in Nordic countries give us references in the wider world. And references are important for innovative solutions: that is why the Finnish government has set an objective that the level of innovative procurement should be 5 per cent of all public procurement.

We are not competitors in the world, there are markets for all of us. This is something I believe we should do even more together, and not only at governmental level but at company level – where the business takes place.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As minister responsible for trade, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that international trade policy and liberalization plays an important role in facilitating cleantech innovation, investment and global value chains. We, the Nordic countries, are all small, open economies, so trade liberalization benefits us all.

Finland is a strong supporter of the negotiations of an Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), taking place in Geneva. I’m delighted that these negotiations are proceeding well.

Through these negotiations, we seek to dismantle any trade barriers to a key set of cleantech products. In addition to cutting tariffs, we hope to find ways to make trade in environmental services easier, as well as simplifying cooperation around technical issues such as standards.

All of this will ensure that cleantech products have global reach, without border obstacles or additional cost. Importantly, we plan for the Environmental Goods Agreement to have an update mechanism that allows for new and innovative products to be included in the agreement as they emerge. This is important for innovative cleantech countries as we, the Nordics.

In the negotiations, we have most major players in the cleantech field onboard, including the EU, US, China and South Korea. Our aim is to conclude the agreement by the end of this year to coincide with the climate conference in Paris and the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Nairobi. As prices come down, the benefits of the agreement will reach all, including developing countries that will be able to export their cleantech products – or their components – and optimize value chains.

Thank you for your attention and I look forward to the panel discussions.

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Updated 11/5/2015

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