Finnish exports to Russia have been declining since 2013, when Russia was still Finland’s largest trading partner.
Finnish Customs reported Tuesday that exports to the eastern neighbour had fallen 35 percent in the months up to May this year compared to 2014, reflecting a shrinkage of exports in almost every sector.
Customs official said Tuesday that Finnish imports from Russia had declined by 37 percent at the beginning of the year compared to 2014. Meanwhile exports fell by 35 percent.
Traditionally Finland’s largest trading partner, Russia now ranks fifth among Finland’s most important export destinations. Germany has overtaken Russia to become the country’s biggest export market.
So far this year, exports to Russia have accounted for just 5.5 percent of total Finnish exports.
Finnish Customs noted that exports to Russia had been falling since autumn 2013. In October of that year, exports were valued at five billion euros, compared to 2.5 billion at the beginning of this year.
Finland currently has a trade deficit with Russia, one that has shrunk in recent years. In 2014 the deficit stood at four billion euros; so far this year, Finland has imported 1.3 billion euros more than it exported to Russia.
Exports down in nearly all sectors
Customs data show a significant decline in exports to Russia from all sectors during the first five months of the year. Hardest hit were exports of foodstuffs and oil products, which fell by 78 percent and 42 percent respectively.
Exports of metal products meanwhile were down 29 percent, while the corresponding figure for forestry products was 27 percent. Machines, equipment and vehicle exports fell by 38 percent and chemicals by 15 percent.
Part of the reason for the declining trade relationship has been an EU-wide trade embargo against Russia over its role in the crisis in Ukraine. Russia has also imposed its own counter-sanctions and banned the import of certain EU goods into the country.
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