Finnish Ambassador reaffirms his commitment to the Gulf region


DUBAI: Imports and exports between Finland and the United Arab Emirates reached a combined value of more than half a billion dollars in 2020, reinforcing the need to further strengthen ties between the two countries, said the Finnish Ambassador Marianne Nissilä at Arab News.

The combined level of activity places the UAE as the largest trading partner with the Scandinavian country in the Gulf region.

Nissilä said the Expo was the optimal platform to strengthen Finland’s relations with the United Arab Emirates and the wider Gulf region, speaking on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Finand Pavilion at the ‘Expo 2020 Dubai, on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the pavilion of his country. .

“Our participation is a very strong sign of interest in the UAE and the Gulf region,” said Nissilä.

Although geographically relatively remote, the UAE is Finland’s second largest export partner and largest import partner in the Gulf region, with more than 70 Finnish companies operating in the Emirates.

Saudi Arabia is Finland’s largest partner with a value of $ 387.52 million, with the United Arab Emirates coming in second with Finnish exports to the Emirates amounting to $ 327 million.

But Finnish imports from the Kingdom amounted to some $ 20 million in 2020, while the United Arab Emirates exported around $ 345 million.

With more than 120 Finnish companies participating in this year’s mega-event, it represents the biggest convergence of Finnish companies in the Arabian Peninsula, Nissilä said.

“Expo 2020 Dubai provides a vital platform for Finland and our 120 partner companies, enabling us to strengthen our common goals in areas such as sustainability, education, digitization and happiness. Mika Lintilä, Finnish Minister for Economic Affairs, said.

Nissilä, a career diplomat, stressed the importance for Finnish companies to share their “know-how, solutions, products and services” with the United Arab Emirates, which has made great strides in sustainability.

“Together with the UAE and the global business community, we aim to co-create and innovate agile, sustainable and intelligent solutions for future business opportunities and societal development,” noted Lintilä.

One of the companies is Soletair Power, which has developed a system that captures CO2 from the air and synthesizes it with hydrogen captured in water to make hydrocarbons, which can then be refined to produce clean fuel. , gas and sustainable plastic production.

Using renewable energies such as solar and wind power, their machine produces hydrogen after separating water atoms before mixing them with CO2 captured in the air.

“The idea is to power it using renewable energy,” Alexandre Eykerman, commercial director of energy at Wärtsilä, a company that has invested in Soletair Power, told Arab News.

Expo 2020 Dubai, which has been postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has put sustainability at the forefront as the climate change crisis shows no signs of abating.

192 countries from around the world came together to come up with ideas to show what a sustainable future could be.

“Finland and the host country, the United Arab Emirates, enjoy excellent diplomatic and trade relations. However, it is still possible to go into them further. We can achieve this by dialoguing and learning from each other, ”said Lintilä.

“New trade deals are underway,” she told Arab News, adding that she had “every reason to believe” that the United Arab Emirates sees Finland as “a” key trading partner and a major destination. ‘lucrative investment’.

“The next steps in the development of economic cooperation and trade have already been designed – now is the time to move forward,” she added.

Yet cooperation between the two countries is not limited to economic activity, with the United Arab Emirates and Finland signed a memorandum of understanding last month on strengthening political consultations.

“There is an active political dialogue between the two countries as well as cooperation in other areas such as education,” she concluded.

“In designing the pavilion, we sought to bring a fragment of Finnish nature to the UAE and Dubai. The pavilion was inspired by the thin white layer of first snow that blankets the Finnish landscape in early winter, ”said Teemu Kurkela, the founder of the company.

The main entrance, meanwhile, is inspired by a traditional Arab tent, leaving room for “the meeting of two cultures in the architectural concept of the pavilion,” he added.


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