Business / Economy

Finnish President says 'lucky' to trade with China

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-02-12 14:10

HELSINKI - Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has praised bilateral trade relations between his country and China, saying Finland's economic ties with China have served as a balance during times of recession in Europe.

"Just like Europe has economic difficulties, Finland too has such difficulties, but we have been very lucky to have this key connection, trading with China," Niinisto said in a recent interview with four Chinese media, which was arranged to mark the 65th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.

He valued eastward trade "because it has made it possible to balance our situation, because our trade with China has been growing in spite of this recession in Europe."

The president made the comment in the context that Finland has experienced negative growth for three consecutive years. A similar situation was only witnessed in the early 1990s when the country suffered the biggest ever recession due to turbulence on the Russian market.

The current economic downturn is partially attributed to European sanctions against Russia and the latter's counter reaction.

Lots to offer

Niinisto said Finnish food producers are now eager to seek opportunities in China.

"Because of the sanctions against Russia, we have a lot of food here now. There are great possibilities to cooperate with China in this sector," he told Chinese reporters.

In 1950, Finland was, along with other Nordic countries like Sweden and Denmark, among the first Western countries to recognize China and establish diplomatic ties.

"We have come a long way in developing our societies and our bilateral relations," he said in a message addressed to the Chinese people.

"Today, the scale of our cooperation in different areas is remarkable and China is our largest trading partner in Asia," Niinisto said, adding "good bilateral relations provide us a sound basis for all cooperation between Finland and China."

Niinisto said Finland could offer its know-how in fields such as the environment and green technology. "Clean tech is one of these areas on which we have put a lot of emphasis, and we expect that in that area we have a lot to cooperate," said the president,

citing the ongoing Beautiful Beijing project as an example.

Bringing people closer

Niinisto praised Chinese initiatives such as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road, a cooperative frame work that covers many Asian and European countries.

"Logistics is very important," said Niinisto, adding that the planned routes going almost around the world could bring nations closer together.

"The more people interact with one another, the better the understanding between them. Increasing trade also brings us together," he said.

The President said China believed in promoting peace and face-to-face talks.

"We are a small nation. I guess that when you are small you understand even better that peace has a huge value. I understand that China is remarkable security builder too in the world," he said.

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