In 2020, the volume of foreign trade of the regions of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation with Finland amounted to $ 1.76 billion (+ 20.6% compared to 2019). Positive dynamics continued in the first quarter of 2021: the trade turnover of the regions of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation with Finland amounted to 505.4 million US dollars (+ 17.6% compared to the same period in 2020). Despite the pandemic, a high level of interstate, interregional and interdepartmental contacts remained between the countries.
According to the head of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, Alexei Chekunkov, Russia is interested in studying the Finnish experience in various fields – from education and construction in Arctic conditions to waste management technologies and wooden housing construction. “We know about the successful experience of Finland in launching the Helsinki University station in Hüttal in Tampere, adapted to the local conditions of the North. We see prospects for cooperation in the implementation of educational programs jointly with the University of Oulu for specialists involved in the development of the Arctic. The Arctic zone of the Russian Federation produces 10% of GDP and 20% of Russian exports. The region’s natural gas and metals, which are widely used in the global e-storage industry, are contributing to the global energy transition.
The parties discussed the creation of a joint Russian-Finnish working group on cooperation in the Arctic within the framework of the Intergovernmental Russian-Finnish Commission on Economic Cooperation.
“The Arctic is not ice, it is, first of all, people,” said Ville Skinnari, Minister for International Development and Foreign Trade of Finland. According to him, Finland is interested in the development of social communications and cooperation in various fields: energy, logistics, healthcare, environmental protection, telecommunications. The increased interest of the Finnish side was aroused by an experiment on digitalization of the forest industry in the Far East, as well as climate projects related to the created service. According to Skinnari, there is significant potential for bilateral partnership in this area, since Finland has high-quality expertise and advanced technologies in the field of forestry management. At the same time, thanks to modern technologies, the forest is becoming not only an industrial, but also an economic resource.
At the end of the talks, Alexey Chekunkov invited the Finnish guest to a presentation of the goals and program of the Russian Federation’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021-2023, which will take place on June 4 at the SPIEF.