Finland’s Top 10 Exports

Finland's Top Import Partners

Helsinki, Finland

Finland shipped US$57.8 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016, down by -8% since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in and down by -3.1% from 2015 to 2016.

Finland’s top 10 exports accounted for almost three-quarters (73.5%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Finland’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $230 billion as of October 2016. Therefore, exports accounted for about 25.1% of total Finnish economic output.

From a continental perspective, 64.7% of Finnish exports by value were delivered to other European trade partners while 14.7% were sold to Asian importers. Finland shipped another 8.4% worth of goods to North America. African countries bought 2.2% of Finnish exports, trailed by Latin American (excluding Mexico) and Caribbean nations at 1.9%.

Given Finland’s population of 5.5 million people, its total $57.8 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $10,500 for every resident in that country.

Finland’s unemployment rate was 9.2% as of February 2017 down from 9.8% in April 2016, 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 2016. 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 number one exported product is paper and paperboard followed by refined petroleum oils.

  1. Paper, paper items: US$8.3 billion (14.4% of total exports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $8 billion (13.8%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $4.9 billion (8.5%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $4.6 billion (8%)
  5. Iron, steel: $3.7 billion (6.4%)
  6. Vehicles: $3 billion (5.2%)
  7. Wood: $2.9 billion (5%)
  8. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2.8 billion (4.8%)
  9. Plastics, plastic articles: $2.2 billion (3.8%)
  10. Woodpulp: $2 billion (3.5%)

Woodpulp was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 151.6% for the 7-year period starting in 2009.

In second place for improving export sales was the optical, technical and medical equipment category which rose 33.8%.

Finland’s wood exports posted the third-fastest gain in value (up 29.1%) followed by vehicles (up 27.5%) and exported iron and steel (up 25%).

Electrical machinery and equipment was the fastest-declining category down -55.4%. The machinery including computers category fell in value -15.8%, followed by Finland’s number one category paper and paper items which dropped -7.3%.


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 is 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$7.8 billion (Down by -5.6% since 2009)
  2. Wood: $2.1 billion (Up by 54.7%)
  3. Woodpulp: $1.8 billion (Up by 184.3%)
  4. Iron, steel: $1.7 billion (Up by 35.1%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $884.3 million (Up by 54.3%)
  6. Ships, boats: $707.5 million (Down by -65.4%)
  7. Copper: $664.4 million (Up by 47.1%)
  8. Zinc: $563 million (Up by 17.2%)
  9. Gems, precious metals: $524.9 million (Up by 356.8%)
  10. Fertilizers: $172.3 million (Up by 148.2%)

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 2016, down -238.8% from -$2 billion for 2009.

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$3.3 billion (Down by -46.2% since 2009)
  2. Vehicles: -$2.6 billion (Up by 79.4%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$1.6 billion (Down by -147.6%)
  4. Ores, slag, ash: -$1.3 billion (Up by 5.9%)
  5. Pharmaceuticals: -$1.3 billion (Up by 12.6%)
  6. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$641.6 million (Up by 107.8%)
  7. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$592.1 million (Down by -6.4%)
  8. Aircraft, spacecraft: -$581.1 million (Down by -28.7%)
  9. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$549.6 million (Down by -15%)
  10. Articles of iron or steel: -$547.6 million (Down by -30.2%)

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 for 2015. Below is a sample of Finland’s major companies that Forbes included:

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

Wikipedia lists companies from Finland engaged in international trade.

  • 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 29, 2017

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 29, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 29, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 29, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Finland. Accessed on March 29, 2017

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