Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
June 29, 2017

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Executive SummaryShare    

Finland is a Nordic country north of the Baltics and bordering Russia, possessing a stable and modern economy including a world-class investment climate. It is a member of the European Union and part of the euro area. The country has a highly-skilled, educated and multilingual labor force, with strong expertise in Information Communications Technology (ICT), ship building, and renewable energy. Key challenges for foreign investors include a rigid labor market and bureaucratic red tape in starting certain businesses, although in June 2016 the Government enacted a Competitiveness Pact that aims to reduce labor costs, increase hours worked, and introduce more flexibility into the wage bargaining system. Health and social services reforms are also currently being discussed. At the end of 2015, the total stock of FDI in Finland totaled EUR 74.2 billion, of which equity accounted for EUR 60.8 billion and the value of debt capital for EUR 13.4 billion.

The Government of Finland (GOF) has taken recent steps to attract additional foreign investment by cutting the corporate tax rate from 24.5 percent to 20 percent in 2014, simplifying the residence permit system for foreign experts, and creating a network called Team Finland that promotes the country’s image internationally. This one-stop shop brings together the services of a variety of state-funded agencies. Both foreign and domestic companies can benefit from GOF investment incentives, research and development support, and innovation systems. The U.S. Embassy in Helsinki, through the Foreign Commercial Service and Political/Economic Sections, is additionally a strong partner for U.S. businesses that wish to connect to the Finnish market. Finnish companies are very active in the fields of information technology, energy, biotech, and clean technology, sectors that the government has selected – along with Arctic expertise – as priorities in their innovation policy. With excellent transportation links to the Nordic-Baltic region and Russia, Finland can be a good hub for establishing regional operations.

The Finnish “MyData” initiative is a relatively new human-centric system that is designed so that access to personal data would remain under the control of the individual instead of organizations (such as businesses or the government, among others). This initiative may impact foreign digital service companies, depending on how it is ultimately developed and implemented.

Table 1




Website Address

TI Corruption
Perceptions Index


3 of 176

World Bank’s Doing Business Report “Ease of Doing Business”


13 of 190

Global Innovation Index


5 of 128

U.S. FDI in Partner Country
($M USD, stock)


USD 1,177

World Bank
GNI Per Capita


USD 46,550

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign InvestmentShare    

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

The Finnish government is open to foreign direct investment. There are no general regulatory limitations relating to acquisitions. A mixture of domestic and European Union competition rules govern mergers and acquisitions. Finland does not preclude foreign investment, but some tax policies may make it unattractive to investors. Finnish tax authorities treat the movement of ownership of shares in a Finnish company into a foreign company as a taxable event, though Finland complies with EU directives that require it to allow such transactions based in other EU member states without taxing them.

Finland does not grant foreign-owned firms any special treatment like tax holidays or other subsidies, which are not currently available to other firms. Instead, Finland relies on policies that seek to offer both domestic and international firms better operating conditions, including an educated labor force and well-functioning infrastructure. Companies benefit from preferential trade arrangements through Finland’s membership in the EU and World Trade Organization (WTO), in addition to the protection offered by Finland’s bilateral investment treaties with more than sixty-five countries.

The Team Finland network brings together publicly-funded services to help companies enter international markets, attract investments to Finland and promote the Finland brand. The center for promoting investments is Invest in Finland, which produces information on Finland as an investment destination, as well as develops and coordinates the network’s investment promotion activities. In April 2016 the Finnish government released an Action Plan to make Team Finland operate more effectively and to offer one-stop-shop services abroad. Team Finland’s website is

The Finnish government recently cut the corporate tax rate from 24.5 percent to 20 percent.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

The law that governs foreign investments is the Act on the Monitoring of Foreign Corporate Acquisitions in Finland. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy (TEM) monitors and confirms foreign corporate acquisitions. The Ministry decides whether an acquisition conflicts with “vital national interests” including national defense, as well as safeguarding public order and security. If the Ministry finds that a key national interest is jeopardized, it must refer the matter to the Council of State, which may refuse to confirm the acquisition.

In the civilian sector, TEM primarily monitors transactions related to Finnish enterprises considered critical to maintaining functions fundamental to society, such as energy, communications, or food supply. Monitoring only applies to foreign owners domiciled outside the EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA). More information is at: Concerning acquisitions in defense, foreigners must apply for prior confirmation and monitoring covers all foreign owners. “Defense” includes all entities that supply or have supplied goods or services to the Finnish Ministry of Defense, the Finnish Defense Forces, the Finnish Border Guard, as well as entities dealing in dual-use goods. The substantive elements in evaluating the application are identical to those applied to other corporate acquisitions.

Right to private ownership: Private ownership is normal in Finland, and in most fields of business participation by foreign companies or individuals is unrestricted. When the government privatizes state-owned companies, both private and foreign participation is allowed, except in enterprises operating in sectors related to national security.

Screening FDI: The Ministry of Employment and the Economy is the authority responsible for monitoring and confirming corporate acquisitions. Filing an application/notification is voluntary, but the Ministry may request information connected to a foreigner’s corporate acquisition. The law does not specify a time limit for filing, and a foreign owner may file either before or after the transaction. A transaction is considered approved if the Ministry does not request additional information, initiate further proceedings within six weeks, or refuse to confirm the transaction within three months. The Ministry cannot render opinions before an application is filed. It is, however, possible for investors to contact the Ministry for guidance beforehand. There is no official template for the notification, but it must include information on the monitored entity’s pre- and post-transaction ownership structure and the acquiring entity’s ownership structure. If known, an acquiring entity must also state its intentions relating to the monitored entity. There are no fees.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

Finland has been a member of the WTO and the EU since 1995. The WTO conducted its Trade Policy Review of the European Union (including Finland) in July 2015: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has not conducted any recent Investment Policy Review of Finland. The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA) regularly publishes reports that review different sectors and factors that may impact investment:

Business Facilitation

All businesses in Finland must be publicly registered at the Finnish Trade Register. Businesses must also notify the Register of any changes to registration information and most must submit their financial statements (annual accounts) to the register. The website is: The Business Information System BIS (“YTJ” in Finnish) is an online service enabling investors to start a business or organization, report changes, close down a business, or conduct searches. More information can be found at:

Permits, licenses, and notifications required depend on whether the foreign entrepreneur originates from a Nordic country, the European Union, or elsewhere. The type of company also affects the permits required, which can include the registration of the right to residency, residence permits for an employee or self-employed person, and registration in the Finnish Population Information System. A foreigner may need a permit from the Finnish Patent and Registration Office to serve as a partner in a partnership or administrative body of a company. For more information: Improvements made in 2016 to the residence permit system for foreign experts, defined as those with special expertise, a university degree and who earn at least EUR 3,000 gross per month, should help experts come to Finland. An online permit application ( available since November 2016 has made it easier for family members to acquire a residence permit.

The practice of some trades in Finland requires only notification or registration with the authorities. Other trades, however, require a separate license, and companies should confirm requirements with Finnish authorities. Entrepreneurs must take out pension insurance for their employees, and certain fields obligate additional insurance. All businesses have a statutory obligation to maintain financial accounts, and, with the exception of small companies, businesses must also appoint an external auditor.

Finland is the 13th best country in the world for doing business, according to the World Bank Group’s “Doing Business” Index; it ranked 28th on “Starting a Business” According to the 2016 “FDI Attractiveness Scoreboard” by the European Commission, Finland is the most attractive EU country for FDI in terms of the political, regulatory and legal environment.

Outward Investment

Finpro, a part of the Team Finland network, helps Finnish SMEs go international, encourages foreign direct investment in Finland and promotes tourism. Finpro is a public organization with 37 offices in 31 countries and 6 regional offices in Finland, focusing on agro-technology, clean-tech, connectivity, ecommerce, education, ICT and digitalization, mining, and mobility as a service. While many of Finpro’s programs are export-oriented, they also seek to offer business and network opportunities. Target partner countries include China, South Korea, Japan, Myanmar, and the United States. More info here:

2. Bilateral Investment Agreements and Taxation TreatiesShare    

Finland does not have a bilateral investment treaty (BIT), agreement or FTA with the United States. Finland has concluded BITs with Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Zambia. Finland BITs are at: - iiaInnerMenu

As an EU member state, Finland is also a signatory to any treaty or agreement, including free trade agreements, signed by the European Union. Finland is a signatory to the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which entered into force on 22 February 2017. For a list of Finland’s bilateral tax agreements, see:

Finland and the United States signed a convention for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital (TIAS 12101) that entered into force on December 30, 1990. On March 5, 2014, Finland signed a Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The Finnish tax administration guidance regarding FATCA is at: and (available only in Finnish and Swedish). For the full text of the FATCA agreement, see:

The salary and fringe benefits paid to qualifying foreign employees living in Finland for more than six months are taxed at a flat rate of 35 percent for a maximum assignment period of 48 months in Finland. For detailed tax guidance, see the Finnish Tax Administration’s website: and the Finnish Foundation for Share Promotion’s Tax Guide for Investors (2015):

3. Legal RegimeShare    

Transparency of the Regulatory System

The Securities Market Act (SMA) contains regulations on corporate disclosure procedures and requirements, responsibility for flagging share ownership, insider regulations and offenses, the issuing and marketing of securities, and trading. The clearing of securities trades is subject to licensing and is supervised by the Financial Supervision Authority. The SMA is at:

See the Financial Supervisory Authority’s overview of regulations for listed companies here: Finland is not on

The Act on the Openness of Public Documents establishes the openness of all records in the possession of officials of the state, municipalities, registered religious communities, and corporations that perform legally mandated public duties, such as pension funds and public utilities. Exceptions can only be made by law or by an executive order for reasons such as national security. For more information see the Ministry of Justice’s page on Openness: The Act on the Openness of Government Activities can be found here:

Finland ranked third on The World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index (2016) regarding constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice and criminal justice. For more, see: and the World Bank rulemaking Finland report:

International Regulatory Considerations

Finland respects common rules and expects other EU Member States to do the same. The Government seeks to constructively combine national and joint European interests in Finland’s EU policy, and seeks better and lighter regulation that incorporates flexibility for SMEs. The Government will not increase burdens detrimental to competitiveness in its national implementation of EU acts.

Finland, as a member of the WTO, is required under the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement) to report to the WTO all proposed technical regulations that could affect trade with other Member countries. In 2015, Finland submitted one notification of technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures to the WTO, and has submitted 75 notifications since 1995.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Finland has a civil law system. European Community (EC) law is directly applicable in Finland and takes precedence over national legislation. The Market Court is a special court for rulings in commercial law, competition, and public procurement cases, and may issue injunctions and penalties against the illegal restriction of competition. It also governs mergers and acquisitions and may overturn public procurement decisions and require compensatory payments. The Court has jurisdiction over disputes regarding whether goods or services have been marketed unfairly. The Court also hears industrial and civil IPR cases.

A working group set up to reform the Competition Act concluded in March 2017 that the Act should be further amended with regard to inspections, sanctions and information exchange between authorities, among others. For more information see the Competition Act (No 948/2011) at:

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

A non- European Economic Area (EEA) resident (persons or companies) operating in Finland must obtain a license or a notification when starting a business in a regulated industry. A comprehensive list of regulated industries can be found at: See also the Ministry of Employment and the Economy’s Regulated Trade guidelines: The autonomously governed Aland Islands, located midway between Finland and Sweden, are an exception. Property ownership and the right to conduct business are limited to those with the right of domicile in the Aland Islands. This does not prevent people from settling in, or trading with, the Aland Islands. Immigrants who have lived in Aland for five years and have adequate Swedish may apply for domicile and the Aland Government can grant exemptions.

The Competition Act allows the government to block mergers where the result would harm market competition. The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) issued guidelines in 2011:

EnterpriseFinland/ is a free online service offering information and services for starting, growing and developing a company. Users may also ask for advice through the My Enterprise Finland website: Finnish legislation is available in the free online databank Finlex in Finnish, where some English translations can also be found:

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

FCCA protects competition by intervening in restrictive practices, such as cartels and abuse of dominant position, and violations of the Competition Act and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). Investigations occur on the FCCA’s initiative and on the basis of complaints. Where necessary, the FCCA makes proposals to the Market Court regarding penalties. In international competition matters, the FCCA’s key stakeholders are the European Commission (DG Competition), the OECD Competition Committee, the Nordic competition authorities and the International Competition Network (ICN). FCCA rulings and decisions can be found in the archive in Finnish. More information at:

Expropriation and Compensation

Finnish law protects private property rights. Citizen property is protected by the Constitution which includes basic provisions for expropriation. Private property is only expropriated for public purposes (eminent domain), in a non-discriminatory manner, with reasonable compensation, and in accordance with established international law. Expropriation is usually based on a permit given by the government or on a confirmed plan and is performed by the District Survey Office. Compensation is awarded at full market price, but may exclude the rise in value due only to planning decisions.

Besides normal expropriation according to the Expropriation Act, a municipality or the State has the right to expropriate land for planning purposes. Expropriation is mainly limited to acquiring land for public purposes, such as street areas, parks and civic buildings. The method is rarely used: less than 1% of land acquired by the municipalities is expropriated. Credendo Group ranks Finland’s expropriation risk as low (1), on a scale from 1 to 7:

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

In 1969, Finland became a member state to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Convention). Finland is a signatory to the convention of the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958 New York Convention).

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

The Finnish Arbitration Act (967/1992) is applied without distinction to both domestic and international arbitration. Sections 1 to 50 apply to arbitration in Finland and Sections 51 to 55 to arbitration agreements providing for arbitration abroad and the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Finland. The share of international arbitration cases in which at least one party was not Finnish increased from 27% in 2015 to 36% in 2016. Of 197 international parties in 2016, two were from the United States. There have been no reported investment disputes in Finland in recent years.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

Finland has a long tradition of institutional arbitration and its legal framework dates back to as early as 1928. Today, arbitration procedures are governed by the 1992 Arbitration Act (as amended), which largely mirrors the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration of 1985 (with amendments, as adopted in 2006). The UNCITRAL Model law has not yet, however, been implemented into Finnish Law. The Finland Chamber of Commerce is discussing amendments with the Ministry of Justice regarding the need to make the Act fully consistent with the Model Law.

Finland’s Act on Mediation in Civil Disputes and Certification of Settlements by Courts (394/2011) aims to facilitate alternative dispute resolution and promote amicable settlements by encouraging mediation, and applies to settlements concluded in other EU member states: In June 2016, the Finland Chamber of Commerce launched its Mediation Rules under which FAI, the Institute of the Finland Chamber of Commerce, will administer mediations:

Any dispute in a civil or commercial matter, international or domestic, which can be settled by agreement may be referred to arbitration. Arbitration is frequently used to settle commercial disputes and is usually faster than court proceedings. An arbitral award is final and binding. FAI promotes the settlement of disputes through arbitration, commonly using the “FAI Rules”: In 2014, a Guide to the Finnish Arbitration FAI Rules was published: The Institute appoints arbitrators both to domestic and international arbitration proceedings, and administers domestic and international arbitrations governed by its rules. It also appoints arbitrators in ad hoc cases when the arbitration agreement so provides, and acts as appointing authority under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. The Finnish Arbitration Act (967/1992) states that foreign nationals can act as arbitrators. For more information see: and

Finland signed the UN Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (“Mauritius Convention”) on March 17, 2015. Under the new rules, all applicable documents and hearings associated with international investment disputes are open to the public, interested parties may deliver statements, and protections for confidential information have been strengthened.

Bankruptcy Regulations

The Bankruptcy Act includes provisions on the prerequisites for initiating bankruptcy, bankruptcy proceedings, claims in bankruptcy, administration and the management and sales of assets: Companies bankrupt elsewhere may file for bankruptcy in Finland if they have Finnish assets. Finland has consistently applied its commercial and bankruptcy laws, with secured interests in property recognized and enforced.

The Reorganization of Enterprises Act (1993/47),, establishes a legal framework for reorganization with the aim to provide an alternative to bankruptcy proceedings. The Act excludes credit and insurance institutions and certain other financial institutions. Recognition of restructuring or insolvency processes initiated outside of the EU requires an exequatur from a Finnish court.

The bankruptcy ombudsman,, supervises the administration of bankruptcy estates in Finland. The Act on the Supervision of the Administration of Bankruptcy Estates dictates related Finnish law:

Finland can be considered creditor-friendly; enforcement of liabilities through bankruptcy proceedings as well as execution outside bankruptcy proceedings are both effective. Bankruptcy proceedings are creditor-driven, with no formal powers granted to the debtor and its shareholders. The rights of a secured creditor are also quite extensive. According to the 2017 World Bank’s Doing Business Report, Finland ranks first out of 190 for the ease of resolving insolvency:

4. Industrial PoliciesShare    

Investment Incentives

Foreign-owned companies are eligible for government incentives on an equal footing with Finnish-owned companies. Support is given in the form of grants, loans, tax benefits, equity participation, guarantees, and employee training. Business aid is coordinated by 15 Centers for Economic Development, Transport, and the Environment (ELY) that provide advisory, training, and expert services as well as grant funding for investment and development projects:;jsessionid=AD25BC6992E30934024E33393E6E6BF7.

A company can use guarantees from the state-owned financing company Finnvera: Finnvera also offers services to businesses in most sectors, and is also Finland’s official Export Credit Agency (ECA): The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) can finance R&D projects undertaken by foreign-owned companies registered in Finland: Support for innovative business ventures can also be obtained from the Foundation for Finnish Inventions: http://www.keksintösäätiö.fi (in Finnish).

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

The free zone area regulations have been harmonized in the EU by the Community Customs Code. The European Union Customs Code, UCC, its Delegated Act and Implementing Act entered into force on May 1, 2016, and will be implemented gradually; the free zone of control type II was abolished and the operator authorizations were changed into customs warehouse authorizations on Customs’ initiative. The Code also allows the processing of non-Union goods without import duties and other charges.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

There are no performance requirements or commitments imposed on foreign investment in Finland. However, to conduct business in Finland, some residency requirements must be met. The Limited Liability Companies (LLC) Act of Finland is at: A LLC must be reported for registration within three months from the signing of the memorandum of association: There is no forced localization policy for foreign investments in Finland.

Finland participates actively in the development of the EU’s Digital Single Market, and outside of privacy issues encourages a light regulatory approach in this area. Data transfers from Finland to non-EU countries must abide by EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC, which will be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation in 2018. Personal data may be transferred across borders per the Finnish Personal Data Act (PDA), which states that personal data may be transferred outside the European Union or the European Economic Area only if the country in question guarantees an adequate level of data protection. Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman legislation is at:

5. Protection of Property RightsShare    

Real Property

The Finnish legal system protects property rights, and secured interest in property, both movable and real, is recognized and enforced. Finland ranked first of 128 countries in the Property Rights Alliance 2016 International Property Rights Index (IPRI) that concentrates on the Legal and Political Environment, Physical Property Rights, and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

Mortgages exist in Finland, and can be applied to both owned and rented real estate. Finland ranks 20th out of 190 countries in the ease of Registering Property according to the World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business Report. In Finland, real property formation, mutation, land consolidation, cadastral mapping, registration of real properties, ownership and legal rights, real property valuation, and taxation are all combined within one basic cadastral system (real estate register) maintained by the National Land Survey:

Intellectual Property Rights

The Finnish legal system protects IPR, and Finland adheres to numerous related international agreements. Finland is a member of the World International Property Organization (WIPO). Finland’s national IPR strategy is at: Finland is not on USTR’s 2016 Out-of-Cycle Special 301 Report.

The Finnish Copyright Act is at: A set of guidelines applicable for international use, was published in 2016 and can be found at: Trademark applicants or proprietors not domiciled in Finland are required to have a representative resident in the European Economic Area.

Patent rights are consistent with international standards, and a granted patent is valid for 20 years. However, the regulatory framework regarding process patents filed before 1995, and pending in 1996, has been perceived to deny adequate protection to many of the top-selling U.S. pharmaceutical products currently on the Finnish market. For this reason Finland was placed on the 301 Watch List in 2009, but was removed from the list in 2015 given that the term for such patents is set to expire shortly. U.S. industry continues to identify concerns in several EU Member States, including Finland, with respect to transparency and the opportunity to engage in policies related to pricing and reimbursement. This reportedly creates uncertainty and adversely impacts market access and incentives for further innovation. The 2016 Special 301 report can be found at

The protection of trade secrets has been ensured mainly by way of criminal legislation and proceedings, but also under the Unfair Business Practices Act subject to the jurisdiction of the Market Court: The government plans to submit a bill to Parliament in spring 2018 implementing the EU Directive on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (2016/943). The 2015 International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) group report on Finnish legal protection of trade secrets can be found at

Finnish customs officers have ex officio authority to seize and destroy counterfeit goods. IPR enforcement in Finland is based on EU regulation (EU) 608/2013. Finnish authorities seized 93,000 counterfeit goods items with a value of 698,392 USD in 2015, according to Finnish Customs statistics.

The link to WIPO’s list of IPR legislation is at: For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles here:

6. Financial SectorShare    

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Finland is open to foreign portfolio investment and has an effective regulatory system. According to the Bank of Finland, in January 2017 Finland had EUR 9.9 billion worth of official reserve assets, mainly in foreign currency reserves and securities. Credit is allocated on market terms and is made available to foreign investors in a non-discriminatory manner, and private sector companies have access to a variety of credit instruments. Legal, regulatory, and accounting systems are transparent and consistent with international norms.

The Helsinki Stock Exchange has since 2003 been part of OMX, referred to as NASDAQ OMX Helsinki (OMXH). NASDAQ OMX Helsinki is part of the NASDAQ OMX Nordic division, together with the stock exchanges in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Reykjavik, Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius.

Finland accepts the obligations under IMF Article VIII, Sections 2(a), 3, and 4 of the Fund’s Articles of Agreement. It maintains an exchange system free of restrictions on payments and transfers for current international transactions, except for those measures imposed for security reasons in accordance with Regulations of the Council of the European Union.

Money and Banking System

Banking is open to foreign competition. At the end of 2015, there were 281 credit institutions operating in Finland and total assets of the domestic banking groups and branches of foreign banks operating in Finland amounted to 526 billion USD. For more information see:

Foreign nationals can in principle open bank accounts in the same manner as Finns. However, banks must identify customers and this may prove more difficult for foreign nationals. In addition to personal and address data, the bank often needs to know the person’s identifier code (i.e. social security number), and a number of banks require a work permit, a certificate of studies, or a letter of recommendation from a trustworthy bank, and details regarding the nature of transactions to be made with the account. All authorized deposit-taking banks are members of the Deposit Guarantee Fund, which guarantees customers’ deposits to a maximum of EUR 100,000 per depositor.

Obtained capital and accumulated profit strengthened the banking sector’s capital adequacy in 2015. At the end of the year, the capital adequacy ratio was a healthy 21%. Measured in Core Tier 1 Capital, the ratio was 21%. Return on equity (ROE) improved slightly to 9.3% (8.2% in 2014), and the cost ratio (costs divided by profits) also improved, reaching 51% in 2015. Standard & Poor’s announced in September 2016 that it was retaining Finland’s AA+ credit rating, while Fitch kept Finland’s credit rating at AA+ in February 2017. Moody’s lowered its triple-A rating to Aa1 in June 2016, keeping it there in January 2017.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

Finland adopted the Euro as its official currency in January 1999. Finland maintains an exchange system free of restrictions on the making of payments and transfers for international transactions, except for those measures imposed for security reasons.

Remittance Policies

There are no legal obstacles to direct foreign investment in Finnish securities or exchange controls regarding payments into and out of Finland. Banks must identify their customers and report suspected cases of money laundering or the financing of terrorism. Banks and credit institutions must also report single payments or transfers of EUR 15,000 or more. If the origin of funds is suspect, banks must immediately inform the National Bureau of Investigation. There are no restrictions on current transfers or repatriation of profits. Residents and non-residents may hold foreign exchange accounts. There is no limit on dividend distributions as long as they correspond to a company’s official earnings records.

Travelers carrying more than EUR 10,000 must make a declaration upon entering or leaving the EU. As a Financial Action Task Force (FATF) member, Finland observes most of FATF’s 49 standards. FATF has praised Finland for improving its anti-money laundering legal framework:

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Solidium is an investment company that is fully owned by the State of Finland. Although it is not strictly a sovereign wealth fund, Solidium’s mission is to manage and increase the long-term value of the listed shareholdings of the Finnish State. Solidium is a minority owner in twelve listed companies; the market value of Solidium’s equity holdings is approximately EUR 8.1 billion (March 2017).

7. State-Owned EnterprisesShare    

State-owned enterprises (SOEs) in Finland are active in chemicals, petrochemicals, plastics and composites; energy and mining; environmental technologies; food processing and packaging; industrial equipment and supplies; marine technology; media and entertainment; metal manufacturing and products; services; and travel. The Ownership Steering Act (1368/2007) regulates the administration of state-owned companies: In general, SOEs are open to competition except where they have a monopoly position, namely in alcohol retail (Alko) and gambling. The Ownership Steering Department in the Prime Minister’s Office has ownership steering responsibility for Finnish SOEs, and is responsible for Solidium.

The GOF, directly or through Solidium, is a significant owner in 15 companies listed on the Helsinki stock exchange (Elisa, Kemira, Metso, Outokumpu, Outotec, Sampo, SSAB, Stora Enso, Talvivaara Mining Company, TeliaSonera, Tieto, and Valmet). The market value of State shareholdings was approximately EUR 19.2 billion as of March 2017. More info can be found here: As of March 2016, the GOF has majority ownership of shares in three listed companies (Finnair, Fortum, and Neste) and also owns shares in 35 commercial companies: (March 2017).

A May 2016 government resolution sought to establish a Business Development Company, Vake, but a final decision had not been taken as of March 2017. Initially, holdings to be transferred to Vake include Altia Plc, Arctia Ltd (government interests exceeding 50.1% of the share capital), Ekokem Oy, Kemijoki Oy, Neste Corporation (interests exceeding 33.4%), Nordic Morning Plc, Posti Group Corporation (interests exceeding 50.1%), Raskone Ltd and Vapo Oy (interests exceeding 33.4%). The Government also proposed to lower the limit for retaining a strategic interest to 33.4%.

The government proposed the establishment of a Parliamentary Advisory Council in the Prime Minister’s Office and to change State ownership as follows: Gasum Corporation (0% to 50.1%), Fingrid Oyj (0% to 50.1%), Vapo Oy (50.1% to 33.4%), Arctia Ltd (100% to 50.1%), Neste Corporation (50.1% to 33.4%), Posti Group Corporation (100% to 50.1%) and Kemijoki Oy (50.1% to 0%). The government further proposed to transfer to the Prime Minister’s Office the steering of the following: Finavia Plc (previously Ministry of Transport and Communication), Finnpilot Pilotage Ltd (previously Ministry of Transport and Communication) and Finnish Aviation Academy Ltd (previously Ministry of Education and Culture). Finrail Oy would be reassigned from the Prime Minister’s office to the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Finland opened domestic rail freight to competition in early 2007, and in July 2016, Fenniarail Oy, the first private rail operator on the Finnish market, began operations. Cross-border transportation between Finland and Russia was opened to competition in December 2016. Trains to and from Russia can be operated by any railroad with permission to operate in the EU. This was earlier Finnish State Railways’ (VR) exclusive domain.

Fenniarail Oy has an agreement with VR regarding information exchange between authorities in Finland and Russia, approvals of rail wagons on the Finnish rail network and the safety of rail wagons. The agreement was signed in January 2017 for an initial trial period. The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications and VR have negotiated a rail traffic service purchase agreement covering long-distance services as well as commuter services outside the Helsinki Region. The agreement is valid until December 31, 2019, and affords the VR Group exclusive rights for passenger rail services.

Privatization Program

Parliament makes all decisions identifying the companies in which the State may relinquish sole ownership (100% of the votes) or control (minimum of 50.1% of the votes), while the Government decides on the actual sale. The State has privatized companies by selling shares to Finnish and foreign institutional investors, through both public offerings and directly to employees.

Sales of direct holdings of the State totaled EUR 152 million from 2010 to 2015. Solidium’s share sales totaled some EUR 3.5 billion over the same period. Proceeds are primarily used for repayment of central government debt, with a smaller proportion to strengthen the economy and promote growth. In March 2014, members of the government and the opposition agreed to sell EUR 1.9 billion worth of shares in SOEs.

8. Responsible Business ConductShare    

The Securities Market Association, developed and updated (2015) the Finnish Corporate Governance Code ( for companies listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange: The Corporate Responsibility Network (FiBS) is the leading corporate responsibility network in Finland and has around 292 members: The Human Rights Center (HRC), administratively linked to the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, encourages foreign and local enterprises to follow the most important international norms: Finland has joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which supports improved governance in resource-rich countries.

Labor and environmental laws and regulations are not waived to attract or retain investments and the Government published a guide on socially responsible public procurement in November 2013: and

The Government promotes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) through its CSR action plan:, but there is no direct legislation and the Finnish government emphasizes voluntary CSR. Ministry of Employment and the Economy CSR Guides for SMEs are at: and the ministry’s CSR reporting is at: The Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility acts as the Finnish National Contact Point (NCP) for the effective implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment:

The government’s SOE policy establishes CSR as a core value at SOEs. Finnish companies perceive that the central component of corporate responsibility is compliance with law and regulations. There are no national codes for CSR in Finland, and instead Finnish companies and public authorities have promoted global CSR codes, such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, UN Global Compact, ILO principles, EMAS, ISO standards and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

The Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on the disclosure of non-financial information has been implemented via amendments to the Finnish Accounting Act, requiring affected organizations make the first report in 2018. The obligation to report non-financial information and corporate responsibility reports will apply to large public interest entities with more than 500 employees. There are 150 Finnish companies that publish annual corporate responsibility reports that were not previously obligated to do so.

Finland is committed to the implementation of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the tripartite declaration of principles concerning multinational enterprises and social policy by the ILO.

9. CorruptionShare    

The Internal Security Program of 2016 does not list corruption as a risk in Finland and there is no dedicated national anti-corruption strategy. Over the past decade, Finland has placed first or second on Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). In 2016, TI ranked Finland third, saying that Finland still faces issues related to “old-boys’ networks” and because of several corruption scandals in 2016. TI recommends an open register of public procurements and an open channel for whistleblowers that would help combat hidden graft. In January 2017, Helsinki announced plans for a new service to anonymously inform authorities about suspected corruption. The Finnish Parliament is currently considering a proposal to reduce corruption in public procurements.

Corruption in Finland is covered by the Criminal Code; penalties range from fines to imprisonment of up to four years. Both giving and accepting a bribe is considered criminal and Finland has statutory tax rules concerning non-deductibility of bribes. Finland does not have an authority specifically charged to prevent corruption. The Ministry of Justice coordinates anti-corruption matters, but Finland’s EU anti-corruption contact is the Ministry of the Interior. The National Bureau of Investigation also follows corruption, while the tax administration has guidelines obliging tax officials to report suspected offences, including foreign bribery, and the Ministry of Finance has guidelines on hospitality, benefits, and gifts. The Ministry of Justice’s “Corruption and the Prevention of Corruption in Finland” is at:

The Act on a Candidate’s Election Funding (273/2009) delineates election funding and disclosure rules. The Act requires presidential candidates, Members of Parliament, and Deputy Members to declare total campaign financing, the financial value of each contribution, and donor names for donations exceeding EUR 1,500: The Act on Political Parties (10/1969) concerning the funding of political parties is at: The National Audit Office of Finland keeps a register containing election funding disclosures at: (available in Finnish and Swedish). Election funding disclosures must be filed with the National Audit Office of Finland within two months of election results being confirmed.

Finland does not regulate lobbying, and there is no requirement for lobbyists to register or report contact with public officials. The ethical Guidelines of the Finnish Prosecution Service were published in December 2016:

The following are ratified or in force in Finland: the Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime; the Council of Europe Civil Law Convention on Corruption; the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption; the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; and, the UN Anticorruption Convention. Finland is a member of the European Partners against Corruption (EPAC). Finland is a signatory to the OECD Convention on Anti-Bribery, and a TI progress report released in August 2015 rated Finland’s enforcement as moderate:

In March 2017, the OECD Working Group on Bribery noted Finland has been active in enforcing its foreign bribery laws. However, all of the cases that progressed to prosecution resulted in acquittal, and the OECD recommended assigning cases to courts or judges with specialized experience and that Finland provide detailed training to law enforcement and the judiciary:

The National Bureau of Investigation is responsible for the investigation of organized and international crimes, including economic crime and corruption, and operates an anti-corruption unit to detect economic offences. The Ministry of Justice has set up a specialist network which meets a few times a year to discuss and exchange information.

Resources to Report Corruption

Contact at government agency:

Markku Ranta-Aho
Head of Financial Crime Division
National Board of Investigation
P.O. Box 285, 01310 Vantaa, Finland

Contact at watchdog organization:

Tommi Niinimaki, Chairperson Transparency Finland

10. Political and Security EnvironmentShare    


There are no instances of political violence in Finland. Some isolated anti-immigration incidents include the September 2016 death of a Finnish citizen after an altercation with the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement sparked large anti-racism rallies. There have been some subsequent demonstrations calling for a stop to deportations of asylum seekers and counter-protests to these demonstrations in central Helsinki, but they have been rare and relatively small.

The Fund for Peace (FFP) ranked Finland as the most stable country in the world again in 2016 based on political, social, and economic indicators including public services, income distribution, human rights, and the rule of law. According to BMI Research, Finland will remain one of the most politically stable countries globally over the 10-year forecast period (2016-25) because of the well-established and functioning state bureaucracy, effective rule of law, personal freedoms and civil liberties, and some of the world’s most progressive gender equality legislation.

11. Labor Policies and PracticesShare    

Finland has a long tradition of trade unions. The country has a unionization rate of 75%, and approximately 90% of employees in Finland participate in the collective bargaining system. Extensive tripartite cooperation between the government, employer’s groups, and trade unions characterize the country’s labor market system. Any trade union and employers’ association may make collective agreements, and the Ministry decides on the validity of the agreement. The Act on Employment Contracts regulates employment relationships regarding working hours, annual leave, and safety conditions, although minimum wages, actual working hours, and working conditions are determined to a large extent through collective agreements instead of parliamentary legislation. Collective bargaining and collective labor agreements are generally binding. In recent years, local labor market partners have been given more flexibility to enforce the collective agreements.

Finland adheres to most ILO conventions; enforcement of worker rights is effective. Freedom of association and collective bargaining are guaranteed by law, which provides for the right to form and join independent unions, conduct legal strikes, and bargain collectively. The law prohibits anti-union discrimination and any obstruction of these rights. The National Conciliator under the Ministry of Employment and the Economy assists negotiating partners with labor disputes. The arbitration system is based on the Act on Mediation in Labor Disputes and the Labor Court is the highest body for settlement. The ILO’s Finland Country profile can be found here:

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy is responsible for drafting labor legislation and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for enforcing labor laws and regulations. Finnish authorities adequately enforce contract, wage, and overtime laws. New legislation concerning the hiring of foreign workers in Finland entered into force on June 18, 2016. Its objective is to intensify monitoring and to ensure improved compliance with the terms of employment in Finland. Finland allows the free movement of EU citizen workers. During 2015, there were a total of 163 strikes in Finland, compared to 128 in 2014.

In 2015, Statistics Finland estimated that the working age population would shrink by 75,000 persons by 2030, and by 300,000 without inward migration.

The government reformed social protection and unemployment security to encourage people to accept job offers, shorten unemployment periods, reduce structural unemployment and save public resources. The unemployed are granted a labor market subsidy which, if linked to earnings as is the case for about 60 percent of the unemployed, guarantees moderate income for a period up to 400 working days. Those without jobs after the 400-day period need to demonstrate that they are actively pursuing employment to continue receiving benefits. The period of eligibility was shortened from 500 days to 400 days starting on January 1, 2017, except for those with a work history shorter than three years (reduced to 300 days), and for those aged over 58 (remains 500 days).

12. OPIC and Other Investment Insurance ProgramsShare    

The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Finnvera (the former Finnish Guarantee Board) share an agreement to encourage joint U.S.-Finnish private investments in Russia and the Baltic States. For more information see: Finland is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment StatisticsShare    

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy


Host Country
Statistical Source

USG or International Statistical Source

USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other

Economic Data






Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD)





Foreign Direct Investment

Host Country
Statistical Source

USG or International Statistical Source

USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other

U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)





BEA data available at

Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions)





BEA data available at

Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP






Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Direct Investment from/in Counterpart Economy Data

From Top Five Sources/To Top Five Destinations (US Dollars, Millions)

Inward Direct Investment

Outward Direct Investment

Total Inward



Total Outward
























United States



United Kingdom






"0" reflects amounts rounded to +/- USD 500,000.

Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

Portfolio Investment Assets

Top Five Partners (Millions, US Dollars)


Equity Securities

Total Debt Securities

All Countries



All Countries



All Countries



United States





















United States


















Cayman Islands



United States

14, 244


14. Contact for More InformationShare