Finland invests millions in African wind power and climate projects

Finland is to invest EUR 1.54 million in climate projects in Africa. The funding is used to support the development of climate projects particularly in the poorest countries. The money can be used, for example, for the research on wave power utilisation or storing electricity, or to develop completely new earning models.

The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen says in a press release that more than a billion people do not have electricity. Whether they get their electricity from fossil fuels or renewable sources makes a difference.

Development Minister: Development aid increase to be included in the next government program

YLE reports that Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen (National Coalition) hopes that the need to increase the development aid, as noted by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and other politicians, will be included in the forthcoming government program negotiations.

Ms Virolainen, who guested in TV1’s Ykkösaamu, estimated that almost all parties were prepared to raise development aid during the next parliamentary term. « We are approaching the elections and the signal from the various parties’ leaders has been clear, we must be able to do better, » she said.

Minister puzzled by Russian customs regulations

According to Demokraatti, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen (National Coalition) thinks that Russia’s new customs regulations are « very strange ». Ms Virolainen told Yle that she hoped the Finnish and Russian customs would sort out the situation.

According to a new customs law has come into force in Russia, Finnish citizens are taxed for bringing in more than one non-Russian car per visit. Finnish Customs said on Friday via Twitter that several Finns have already been taxed under the new law.

Minister Anne-Mari Virolainen to meet with colleagues in Stockholm

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen will meet with Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation and the Climate, Isabella Lövin, and Minister for European Union Affairs, Ann Linden in Stockholm on Thursday the 17th of May. Minister Virolainen said in a statement that Sweden is a close partner for Finland in both international development and trade policy. The two countries have many shared interests in trade policy.

Ministers Virolainen and Lövin will discuss EU’s budget for the 2021-2027 season, as well as cooperation to promote women’s reproductive and sexual health rights in development policy. With Minister Linden, Virolainen will discuss the agenda of the EU trade minister meeting.

Minister Virolainen: Trump’s decision to postpone tariffs prolongs uncertainty

Finland’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen said that the positive aspect of President Donald Trump’s decision to postpone the steel and aluminium tariffs for the EU is that the tariffs did not take effect yet. President Trump postponed the tariffs until the beginning of June.

Minister Virolainen pointed out that the decision means that the uncertainty continues, which is bad news for all businesses. Furthermore, the decision does not remove the real problem, which is oversupply.

Trade deal between the EU and Mexico

On Saturday, the European Union and Mexico came to an agreement about renewing their existing tradel deal. The new deal replaces the agreement made in 2000. The deal is almost ready, but negotiations over technical details continue. The Finnish Government said they expect the final agreement to be ready by the end of the year.

Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen said the new deal was welcome because it changes outdated trade rules to match the needs of companies, removes duties and creates improved opportunities for Finnish companies on the Mexican market. The deal is particularly significant at a time when open trade and related cooperation has been questioned by many, Minister Virolainen added.

EUR 900 million from Finland to development aid

Finland used EUR 935 million in development aid last year, which is 0.41 % of the GDP. The share dropped from 0.44%. Compared to other EU member states, Finland’s share was the 9th biggest in terms of the GDP ratio.

A significant share of the development aid was channeled through the European Union and other multilateral organisations, such as the United Nations.

In the EU’s development aid budget, Finland’s share was EUR 130 million. The combined public development aid of all EU member states was EUR 73.4 billion, which is approximately the same as the year before.

Foreign Trade and Development

Finnish leaders comment on US steel tariffs

Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö has commented on the steel tariffs set by President Donald Trump, saying that it seems that the tariffs do not create major threats to Finland. However, a more extensive trade war that would spread as a chain reaction would be very harmful to Finland, a country which depends on exports.

President Niinistö said in an interview with STT that there is always a risk of an escalating situation, but found that changes might be made to the tariffs and final conclusions should not be drawn yet. President Niinistö added that he thinks the tariffs are one way for President Trump to show his voters that he keeps his promises made in the election campaign.