Finland aims to boost exports as demand falls

Source: Xinhua| 2020-08-14 02:44:30|Editor: huaxia

HELSINKI, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Finland on Thursday published details of its 2021 draft budget at 61.6 billion euros (72.8 billion U.S. dollars), which will be based on a 7-billion-euro deficit, the Ministry of Finance said in a press statement on Thursday.

As uncertainty persists in the global economy, "national policy decisions must be proactive and strengthen the prospects for increasing exports," the ministry statement said.

Industrial electricity tax is to be reduced to the European Union (EU) minimum in 2021 to help industries. The upcoming EU COVID-19 recovery packages and local measures will be coordinated in Finnish policies, it said.

Finnish Finance Minister Matti Vanhanen said the 2021 budget is based on the presumption that there will be "no second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic". He said the Finnish economy could not endure such an impact and external debt would have to be brought into control.

At a press conference held on Wednesday in Helsinki, Vanhanen warned that "Our exports are at risk of dying down for a long period of time unless the world manages to bring the epidemic under control," the Helsinki Times reported.

Creating demand for exports would depend on stimulus measures introduced by the European Union, he said.

Vanhanen reiterated his estimate that the coronavirus epidemic will leave a roughly 20-billion-euro deficit in the budget for 2020, pushing the Finnish government debt to 132 billion euros in 2021, the Helsinki Times said.

Also on Thursday, the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health elaborated on the compensation of lost work income to posted foreign workers, if they have to be quarantined upon arrival in Finland.

Kirsi Varhila, permanent secretary of the ministry, said that besides all posted workers from the EU area, the benefit of full reimbursement would be given also to posted workers from non-EU countries that have a social services agreement with Finland, which include Australia, Chile, Israel, Canada, the U.S., China, South Korea and India. Enditem