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Country Forecast Finland May 2018

Country Forecast Finland May 2018

  • May 2018
  • ID: 4983743
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

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Policy towards private enterprise and competition


2018-19: Partnerships between the state and private investment will be established within transport, infrastructure, renewable energy and healthcare.


2019-21: Reforms will be made to the energy sector as Finland moves towards an oil-free economy. New legislation will aim to reform the labour market and promote localised wage agreements.


Policy towards foreign investment


2018-19: The traditional focus on attracting foreign investment from North America and Europe will shift to Asia. China, in particular, will become a major investor in Finland's information technology (IT) and engineering sectors, and will play a larger role in funding major infrastructure projects.


2019-22: Tax reforms will encourage the expansion of the IT sector. More tax breaks will be given to commercialise research and development (R&D) and recruit specialised labour from abroad.


Foreign trade and exchange controls


2018-19: Greater efforts will be made to rebuild economic relations with Russia and secure more access for Finnish companies to Russian markets. Exports to the EU and Asia will increase and support economic growth.


2019-22: A dip in global trade volumes will weigh on economic growth in 2020, before picking up again in 2021.


Taxes


2018-19: The current government is not likely to change its corporate tax policy in the forecast period. It is likely to introduce measures to reduce taxes on lower income households.


2019-22: Some further indirect tax rises are possible, but the scale of increases will depend on progress made by the government to reduce the budget deficit.


Financing


2018-19: The capacity of Finland's banking regulation will be tested once Nordea Bank moves its headquarters to Helsinki, the capital, in the second half of 2018, as it will significantly increase the size of the banking sector relative to the economy, requiring more regulation.


2019-22: Private equity players will become a greater source of funding for companies, especially for export-focused technology firms. Low-interest loans will create added competition between banks looking to expand their small and medium-size enterprise loan portfolios.


The labour market


2018-19: Unemployment will fall, and labour shortages will emerge in some sectors. The "competitiveness pact" and labour market reforms to increase flexibility to hire and lay-off workers will keep wage growth at modest levels.


2019-22: Trade unions' traditionally strong power in the labour market will diminish as employers' influence rises and more wage agreements are negotiated through localised deals.


Infrastructure


2018-19: A more expansive road infrastructure plan will be rolled out. Potential partnership with Estonia for construction of a sub-sea rail tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn, the Estonian capital. More funding for transport infrastructure projects.


2019-22: Talks will be held with Norway on joint development of a freight railway line from northern Finland to the Arctic port of Kirkenes in Norway, which would also service shipping links to Asia. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal linked to Estonia via a Baltic pipeline will reduce energy dependence on Russia.


Technological readiness


2019-20: More funds will be allocated to digitise public administrative and healthcare services. The government will focus on attracting skilled labour and foreign direct investment to its information and communications technology sector (ICT).


2020-22: Focus on creating ICT hubs in some areas of the country, such as the city of Oulu.



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