Finland’s Top 10 Exports

Finland's Top 10 Exports

Helsinki, Finland

Sharing land borders with Sweden to its northwest, Norway to its north and Russia to its east, the Republic of Finland shipped US$67.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount represents a -8.8% drop from 2013 to 2017 but a 18.4% increase from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Finland’s exported goods plus services represent 36.7% of total Finnish economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, almost two-thirds (65.4%)% of Finnish exports by value were delivered to fellow European trade partners. Another 15% was sold to Asian importers, while 7.8% went to North America. Smaller percentages were destined for Africa (2.1%) and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.6%).

Given Finland’s population of 5.5 million people, its total $67.9 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $12,300 for every resident in the Northern European country.

Finland’s unemployment rate was 8.6% as of February 2018 down from 9.2% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.

Finland’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Finnish global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Finland.

At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Finland’s most valuable exported products are refined petroleum oils trailed by coated paper, cars, flat-rolled stainless steel items, sawn wood, non-dissolving chemical woodpulp then electro-medical equipment like xrays.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$8.8 billion (13% of total exports)
  2. Paper, paper items: $8.7 billion (12.9%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $5.8 billion (8.5%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $5.7 billion (8.3%)
  5. Vehicles: $4.9 billion (7.2%)
  6. Iron, steel: $4.4 billion (6.4%)
  7. Wood: $3.3 billion (4.9%)
  8. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $3 billion (4.5%)
  9. Plastics, plastic articles: $2.4 billion (3.5%)
  10. Woodpulp: $2.3 billion (3.4%)

Finland’s top 10 exports accounted for almost three-quarters (72.7%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Vehicles was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 66.7% from 2016 to 2017, led by cars and to a lesser extent trucks.

In second place for Finland’s improving export sales was the mineral fuels including oils category which rose 28.6%.

Finland’s exported iron and steel posted the third-fastest gain in value (up 19.7%) trailed by electrical machinery and equipment (up 19.2%).


The following types of Finnish product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Paper, paper items: US$8.2 billion (Up by 13.4% since 2016)
  2. Wood: $2.4 billion (Up by 17.6%)
  3. Woodpulp: $2 billion (Up by 18.5%)
  4. Iron, steel: $1.9 billion (Up by 10.9%)
  5. Ships, boats: $1.6 billion (Up by 127.1%)
  6. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $911.4 million (Down by -12.9%)
  7. Copper: $901.5 million (Up by 34%)
  8. Zinc: $745.6 million (Up by 34.3%)
  9. Gems, precious metals: $589.7 million (Up by 12.8%)
  10. Furskins, artificial fur: $339 million (Up by 112.8%)

Finland has highly positive net exports in the international trade of paper and products made from paper. In turn, these cashflows indicate Finland’s strong competitive advantages under the paper and paper items category.


Overall, Finland incurred a -$2.7 billion trade deficit during 2017, down -30.2% from -$3.2 billion in 2016.

Below are exports from Finland that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Finland’s goods trail Finnish importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$4.1 billion (Up by 21.7% since 2016)
  2. Vehicles: -$2 billion (Down by -4.7%)
  3. Articles of iron or steel: -$1.5 billion (Up by 217.7%)
  4. Ores, slag, ash: -$1.5 billion (Up by 17.6%)
  5. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$1.4 billion (Up by 15.4%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: -$1.3 billion (Up by 7.5%)
  7. Machinery including computers: -$741.8 million (Reversing a $165.1 million surplus in 2016)
  8. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$732.6 million (Up by 23.9%)
  9. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$614.3 million (Up by 4.8%)
  10. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$544.6 million (Up by 3.6%)

Finland has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category, particularly crude oil and petroleum gas.


Finnish Export Companies

Twelve Finnish corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of Finland’s major companies that Forbes included:

  • Metso (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
  • Neste Oil (oil, gas)
  • Nokia (communications equipment)
  • Outokumpu (iron, steel)
  • Stora Enso (paper, paper products)
  • UPM-Kymmene (paper, paper products)
  • Wärtsilä (heavy equipment)

Wikipedia also lists companies headquartered in Finland that engaged in international trade transactions.

  • Altia (alcoholic beverages)
  • Fiskars (scissors, gardening tools, kitchenware)
  • HKScan (meat products)
  • Kemira Oyj (chemicals)
  • Metsä Group (wood products, paper)
  • Neste (refined petroleum)

Finland’s capital city is Helsinki.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Finland’s Top Trading Partners and Top EU Export Countries

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 28, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Wikipedia, Finland. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Finland. Accessed on March 28, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 8, 2016