Finland - Country Commercial Guide
Selling to the Public Sector

Describes how major projects are secured and financed. Explains activities of the multilateral development banks in and other aid-funded projects. 

Last published date: 2021-09-14

Selling to the Government

The annual total amount of Finnish Government procurement is estimated to be approximately 18 percent of Finland’s GDP. This is attributed mostly to the particularly large size of the public sector in Finland. Government procurement in Finland is governed by both international obligations under the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) and EU-wide legislation under the EU Public Procurement Directives. EU procurement rules and the WTO’s GPA agreement only apply to procurements above the threshold value. Finland’s national Act on Public Contracts (in Finnish) governs procurements that fall below the EU and GPA threshold values.

Businesses can use HILMA to acquire real-time information about ongoing procurement procedures and prior information about future procedures. The obligation to advertise public contracts in HILMA covers contracts exceeding national and EU thresholds. Contracts below national thresholds can also be advertised in HILMA, even though it is not mandatory under the procurement legislation. The eNotices website provides standard forms for public procurement notices published in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union. Notices that cannot be submitted via HILMA should be filled in on the eNotices website. You need to register before using this site. TED is an online database that contains all notices published in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the EU, including an archive of notices from the last five years.

If the contract is awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender, tenders are measured against previously indicated comparison criteria. The contracting entity shall specify the relative weighting of the benchmarks in the contract notice, in the invitation to negotiate or in the invitation to tender. The weighting can also be expressed by indicating a reasonable range. More information at the Ministry of the Employment and Economy.

U.S. companies bidding on Government tenders may also qualify for U.S. Government advocacy. A unit of the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. Government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public sector contracts with international governments and government agencies. The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts. Advocacy assistance can take many forms but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S. Government agencies expressing support for the U.S. bidders directly to the foreign government. Consult Advocacy Center for Foreign Government Contracts information.

Financing of Projects

The Finnish financial market is typical of European countries where banks and financing institutions have a dominant role. A project finance package usually includes financing from a variety of sources, different types of collateral arrangements, guarantees, escrow accounts, project sponsor commitments, etc. Finland is also an important source of foreign direct investment in many countries serviced by multilateral development banks such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Finnish firms often play an important role in co-financing large-scale projects in these countries. IFC maintains an active relationship with Finland, covering business development with Finnish companies interested in investing in emerging markets, cooperation with Finnish banks, and donor funded initiatives.

Major Finnish government and other programs are detailed below:

Finnfund – The Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation, promotes investments in developing countries. It is owned by the State of Finland, Finnvera, and Confederation of Finnish Industries. Finnfund finances ventures that use Finnish technology, cooperating with its partners on a long-term basis, in order to generate major environmental or social benefits. It provides equity capital, as well as long-term investment loans and participates in guarantee arrangements. In addition to financing, the corporation offers a broad range of fund-management and advisory services.

NIB – The Nordic Investment Bank is a multilateral financial institution headquartered in Helsinki. NIB promotes sustainable growth of its eight-member countries, which are Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. NIB finances investment projects and project exports on emerging markets, both in and outside the member countries. Highest priority is given to investments furthering economic cooperation between the member countries. Loans and guarantees are given to investments that assure energy supply, improve infrastructure, or support research and development.

Finnvera plc. is a specialized financing company owned by the State of Finland. It provides services to supplement the Finnish financial market. Finnvera’s task is to promote the development of enterprise, regions, and the exports of Finnish companies. Finnvera carries out this task by improving the range and versatility of financing options available to enterprises through loans, guarantees, capital investments and export credit guarantees. Finnvera grants loans to enterprises and entrepreneurs, and issues guarantees, and export credit guarantees to enterprises and financiers. Through its special loans and guarantees, Finnvera also acts as an intermediary between the European Union’s financing programs and Finnish SMEs. Finnvera acts as Finland’s official Export Credit Agency (ECA), providing export guarantees and insurance.

FEC - Finnish Export Credit Ltd is an internationally notified official Export Credit Agency and a wholly owned subsidiary of Finnvera plc. FEC administers the interest equalization scheme for officially supported export credits and domestic ship financing at CIRRs (Commercial Interest Reference Rate). It acts on behalf of the Government of Finland and in accordance with the OECD arrangement. FEC also provides export credits when a withholding tax benefit can be achieved.

The Government of Finland through the Team Finland network supports several public financing institutions to help researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and full-fledged businesses from initial idea and incubation, to piloting and testing, to startup, to growth, to internationalization.

ELY - Centers for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment is the official The tasks of the centers comprise Employment and Economic Centers, Road Districts, Regional Environmental Centers and State Provincial Offices. These centers operate in close collaboration with the regional councils and promote entrepreneurship, functioning of labor market, competence, and other cultural activities.