Distinguished Representatives of Brazilian Industry, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Finnish Government and my delegation, I want to thank you for your warm reception in Brazil and organizing this interesting seminar with a theme that has a special meaning for both countries. It’s an honour for me to lead such a representative Finnish delegation, which has brought here top-level specialists from Brazilian Industry.
Finland and Brazil have excellent trade, political and cultural relations, which form a strong basis for further development of more concrete collaboration activities. At the moment around 50 Finnish companies have established local business in Brazil and almost 200 have sales or representative offices in the market. Yet, I believe there is potential for much more.
Finnish companies’ interest towards Brazil and other Latin American market countries is growing fast. Finland’s Prime Minister, Mr. Katainen and Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, Mr. Stubb had the honour to lead the Finnish high-level delegation to Brazil last year, which was a huge success. Now, one year later, we have a chance to do some follow-up, initiate new collaboration actions and start new projects.
Feedback received from Finnish companies is that Brazil is an excellent partner for commercial, innovation and research cooperation, as well as for establishing local business and for entering Latin American markets. We can also find cooperation synergies in third markets like in Africa.
Distinguished Brazilian partners,
Finnish companies are global leaders in many fields such as in cleantech, including energy efficiency, biomass and renewables, pulp and paper, offshore and marine technology, ICT, sustainable mining, as well as energy production and distribution. Many Finnish companies offer high-quality technologies and niche-solutions.
One of the most active collaboration areas between our countries is marine, offshore and shipbuilding. Finland has a long tradition and experience in the field of shipbuilding. Several companies in my delegation represent this field. Finnish research organizations, companies and local governments from South-East Finland have established good connections and started several R&D&I projects and training cooperation with Brazilian State of Pernambuco. Fields of cooperation include maritime industry and technology, renewable energy, resource efficiency, water treatment and waste management, as well as computational intelligence.
Finnish industrial companies and technology providers also have big interest in the investment and infrastructure projects in many Brazilian harbors and shipyards. We want find trustful local partners for long-term collaboration. Finnish companies offer for example processing technology and systems for various applications: drill ships, cranes, storages, cargos, containers, vehicles and scanning for different industrial applications. Also other infrastructure and logistical development projects in Brazil, like modernization of road and train networks, airports, communication infrastructure, offer a range of possibilities for Finnish-Brazilian industrial collaboration.
An area where I see a growing potential for successful business and innovation cooperation, is cleantech, for example in the area of renewable energy, biomass and sustainable mining. Brazil has leading position in utilization of renewable energy and generation of clean energy worldwide. We are willing to increase our joint research and business efforts with Brazil in this field.
Finland is a leader in policies and technologies for sustainable development. The Governments climate and energy strategy outlines key measures for the attainment of the EU´s objectives. Related to the EU requirements Finland is to increase the share of renewable energy to 38 % of final energy consumption and to fulfill a 10% target for the use of biofuels in transport by 2020. However, Finland has decided to double this target. It will mainly be met by increasing the national production of wood-based biofuel. About 80 % of Finland’s renewable energy is based on forest biomass.
Finland’s Governmental Strategic Program for Cleantech is aimed at spurring Finnish companies towards sustainable growth and renewal through clean technologies. Strengths of the Finnish cleantech sector include the production of clean energy, energy-efficiency of manufacturing and buildings, resource-efficient industrial processes, water treatment and waste management and recycling. Both Finland and Brazil have also vast forests resources, which can be sustainably utilized through joint efforts.
Several Finnish cleantech companies have a keen interest in Brazil because of its oil industry and leadership role in biofuels. Finnish companies, for example Neste Oil in our delegation, are looking for win-win situations with potential Brazilian partners through collaboration in research, technology and feedstock development. Brazil could be an interesting business location for these companies in the future, provided that the regulatory conditions such as local regulatory and business framework support the business case.
We are willing to increase our joint research and business efforts in this field. Finnish and Brazilian companies could for example establish a commercial-scale biorefinery project or we could launch a joint R&D&I-program with sustainable approach using Brazilian renewable feedstock and experience and combining it to Finnish high-level knowhow.
Good example of ongoing activities is a Network of Excellence in Biomass and Renewable Energy (NOBRE) coordinated by Åbo Akademi University and University of Säo Paulo. The network involves top-level universities, research institutes, companies and funding agencies of both countries and is aimed at creating opportunities for collaboration, joint ventures and new education programs. This is an example of Public-Private-Partnerships that I would like to see in other fields too.
Ladies and gentleman,
Naturally, I would also like to encourage more Brazilian investments to Finland, which offers a central location in the expanding markets of Northern Europe and provides an ideal entry to the East. Finland’s long experience of trade in Northern Europe, combined with its historical and cultural ties to neighboring countries, offers valuable insight and knowledge into the region. Finland is the ideal business gateway also to Russia.
The Finnish economy is also knowledge-based and strong on innovation, which makes the country an ideal test bed for new solutions and technologies. Finland’s R&D activities are among the best in the world in many different sectors, and its R&D investment per capita is the highest in the world. The knowledge transfer between business and universities has been one of the key factors in Finland’s track record of innovation and economic success.
When comparing macroeconomic stability, Finland enjoys the highest possible status with the global credit rating agencies Fitch Ratings, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. Reliability and expertise are available in Finland’s stable society. Finland has been repeatedly ranked at the top of international sustainable development indices.
Finnish high-level education system and teacher training is globally acknowledged and appreciated also by the Brazilian Government. We are willing to share our experiencies and lessons learnt and develop partnerships with win-win synergies to both parties. Collaboration under the Science without Borders –program offers us already broad possibilities to increase student, researches and scientists mobility between our countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Finnish-Brazilian cooperation in the fields of science, research and innovation has very promising prospects. I’m very satisfied with the official cooperation agreements between Finnish and Brazilian R&D&I organizations, which have been signed in recent years. These official arrangements will hopefully lead to concrete collaboration projects and new innovations in the near future.
Innovation cooperation and industrial R&D between our countries will be further facilitated by the new cooperation agreement between the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes and Brazilian Innovation Agency Finep, which will be signed during our visit. Joint calls, research financing and facilitating actions will hopefully lead to concrete industrial research and innovation projects between Finnish and Brazilian companies, universities and research organizations.
Finnish research organizations already have established functions in Brazilian market. VTT and Finnish Company Kemira opened a joint water research center in Sao Paulo on 2011. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has a local company in Brazil, São Paulo. VTT Brazil LTDA is offering its research services to the pulp and paper, chemical and energy industries. It can act as a gateway to Brazilian market for Finnish companies.