Finland - Country Commercial Guide
Selling Factors and Techniques

Identifies common practices to be aware of when selling in this market, e.g., whether all sales material need to be in the local language.

Last published date: 2021-09-14

Overview

The factors that determine where importers place their orders are almost entirely commercial and are similar to those encountered in the United States. Competitive factors such as price, quality, promptness of delivery and availability of service, determine the success of a supplier in Finland. It is important to consider both geographical and sectoral coverage when appointing an agent or distributor in Finland. Due to the small size of the market, it is common for one agent or distributor to be appointed to cover the entire country, either for a given sector (in the case of highly specialized goods), or for all sectors (for more general-use goods). In many cases local distributors or agents may decline to take on representation of a new product line due to expected competition or lack of demand. In such cases, a new-to-market company wishing to enter the Finnish market may wish to establish its own sales office.

Many Finnish firms, from major established multinationals to early-stage startups, are eager to partner with American firms and to engineer Made-in-USA innovations into their solutions. These Finnish firms often intend to take their solutions global, bringing their American partnerships and Made-in-USA technologies with them. American firms that approach the Finnish market with this in mind often find that the value of their presence in the Finnish market is worth far more than the Finnish market alone.

Trade Promotion and Advertising

The European Union has established minimum and objective criteria regarding truth in advertising. Legislation on advertising practices can be found through the EU adopted Directive 2005/29/EC concerning fair business practices. There are special regulations for advertising certain products such as medicine, food, supplements, gambling, alcohol and tobacco in Finland.

For local trade fairs, there is a number of local trade fair authorities. The major organizers within regions are The Finnish Fair Corporation/Helsinki Fair Center and Wanha Satama Fair Ltd. for the capital region, Jyvaskyla Fair Ltd. in central Finland, The Turku Fair and Congress Center Ltd. in South-West Finland, and Lahti Fair Ltd. and Tampere Trade Fairs Ltd. in Southern Finland.

Major Newspapers in order by circulation:

  • Helsingin Sanomat is the leading daily newspaper of capital region, circulation 339,437 – est.readership 902,000
  • Aamulehti is the second best-selling daily newspaper from the Southern Finland (City of Tampere) area, circulation 130,081
  • Turun Sanomat is a popular newspaper from South-West Finland (City of Turku) area, circulation 72,979 - est. readership: 205,000
  • Keskisuomalainen circulation 68,589
  • Savon Sanomat circulation 55,535
  • Hufvudstadsbladet is a liberal Swedish-language newspaper, circulation 48,000 – est.readership 120,00
  • Business Magazines/Journals:
  • Kauppalehti is the leading week-daily business/economic newspaper, est. readership 148,000
  • Talouselama (Business weekly)
  • Tekniikka & Talous (Business weekly)
  • Tietoviikko TIVI (Business weekly)
  • Radio/TV:
  • Bauer Media Group, covers nine national, five local and one digital service radio stations.
  • Discovery Finland (TLC, Frii, TV5, 6)
  • DNA TV
  • Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE Radio (YLE Radio 1, YLEX, YLE Radio Suomi, YLE Mondo, YLE Klassinen, YLE Puhe, YLE Sami Radio, YLE Novosti po-russki, YLE X3M and YLE Vega), and TV (YLE TV1, TV2, YLE Teema Fem) Center.
  • Fox Networks Group Oy (TV: Fox)
  • MTV OY (TV: Mtv3, Sub, Aava, C More Max)
  • Nelonen Media. TV (Nelonen HD, Nelonen Prime, Ruutu+ Lapset, Nelonen Maailma, Nelonen Pro 1, Nelonen Pro 2, Jim, Liv & Hero) and Radio (Radio Rock, Radio Aalto, Helmi, HitMix, Radio Suomipop, Loop).
  • Biggest Media houses:
  • Alma Media   
  • SanomaGroup
  • TS-Yhtymä

Please consult the local U.S. Commercial Service office for the best media outlet for your needs. The top ones by reach are as above, but by consulting with the commercial service you can discuss the best way to reach your specific audience.

Interested parties may contact Senior Commercial Specialist Mia Mäki,mia.maki@trade.gov

Pricing

The main taxes for businesses are corporation tax (profit tax) and real estate tax. Corporate tax is an income tax collected from limited companies and other corporations. The tax is levied on the taxable income of a corporation calculated by subtracting the deductible expenses of the corporation from its taxable income. The corporate income tax rate was lowered from 24.5 percent to 20.0 percent in January 2014.

All goods and services are subject to a value-added tax (VAT), an indirect tax assessed as a percentage of the value of all goods and services, unless specifically exempted. The general rate is 24 percent on industrial goods; 10 percent on books, drugs, pharmaceuticals, cinema tickets, passenger transportation, accommodation services, cultural and entertainment events, subscriptions of newspapers and periodicals, and TV licenses; 14 percent on foodstuffs and animal feed, and restaurant and catering services.

Excise duties are product-specific, and the amount of duties assessed is based on the number of products consumed in taxable use or products supplied for taxable use. Excise taxes are levied on alcohol and alcoholic drinks, beer, tobacco, liquid fuels, electricity and certain fuels and soft drinks. Municipal waste tax, beverage packaging tax and oil discharges are also subject to excise taxes.

Duties on goods from non-European countries are relatively low, especially for manufactured goods, ranging from 2.61 percent or 4.17 percent. However, textile and clothing items still have high duties and quotas. For further information, please visit the European Online Customs Tariff Database (TARIC),

Sales Service/Customer Support

It is customary to appoint one exclusive agent or distributor to cover the entirety of Finland. Importers may serve large customers themselves, while dealers work with smaller customers. Product training and customer support, usually organized and carried out by dealers, is important.

The EU has legislation to ensure customer safety and after-sales service:

  • The 1999 Directive on the Sale of Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees requires professional sellers to provide a minimum two-year warranty on all consumer goods sold to consumers (natural persons acting for purposes outside their trade, businesses or professions), as defined by the Directive. The remedies available to consumers in case of non-compliance are repair of the good(s); replacement of the good(s); a price reduction or rescission of the sales contract.
  • The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) aims to ensure only safe consumer products are sold in the EU. Consumers must be warned of the risks associated with any product placed on the market.
  • The Directive on Liability of Defective Products holds the producer liable for any damage caused by a defect in a product. The victim must prove the existence of the defect and a causal link between defect and injury (bodily as well as material).

Local Professional Services

  • Professional Associations in Finland:
  • Association for Managers and Professionals, YTY
  • Trade Union of Education in Finland, OAJ
  • The Union of Sales and Marketing Professionals: MMA
  • The Union of Professional Engineers in Finland
  • The Finnish Veterinary Association
  • Finnish Association of Architects, SAFA
  • The Finnish Business School Graduates
  • Finnish Psychological Association
  • The Association of Finnish Lawyers
  • Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland: TEK
  • Social Science Professionals
  • Confederation of Unions for Professional and Managerial Staff in Finland, Akava

Principal Business Associations

Amcham Finland is the local chapter of the global network of American Chambers of Commerce and is dedicated to promoting a strong transatlantic economy and a healthy business environment in Finland.

Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) is an umbrella organization for several smaller associations. Its main task is to make Finland an internationally attractive with competitive business environment. Membership requires a Finnish business identity code.

Enterprise Europe Network provides free-of-charge internationalization services to SMEs and has experts in over 50 countries all over the world.

Entrepreneurs of Finland is an interest and service organization for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their owners. Membership requires a Finnish business identity code.

Finnish Commerce Federation is a nationwide lobbying organization whose mission is to promote Finnish commerce. The goal is to improve the operating conditions for companies active in wholesale and retail trade, to stimulate co-operation within the sector and to enhance the commercial and employer interests of members. It has a role in negotiating collective labor agreements, resolving labor disputes and serving members in employment issues. Member companies need to be registered in Finland.

Trade Partners Finland is a membership organization which facilitates international trade for small and medium size companies. Members of the organization are commercial agents, importers and distributors of various industry sectors,

Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services

There are no additional limitations towards selling U.S. products or services.