Finnish firms see hit from Russia sanctions

August 15, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

HELSINKI: Almost half of Finland’s companies are being hurt by the sanctions the European Union and Russia have imposed on each other over the Ukraine crisis, a survey by the Chamber of Commerce showed yesterday.

Russia is Finland’s third-biggest export market, accounting for about 10 percent of total Finnish sales abroad. Russian tourists spend roughly €2bn annually in Finland. The triple-A rated Nordic country has suffered two years of economic contraction as key industries, mobile phones and paper, struggled with weak demand.

Finland’s gross domestic product edged up 0.1 percent in the second quarter from the first three months of the year, preliminary data showed, indicating the economy may be out of its technical recession. But the Ukraine crisis has increased fears the recovery will be delayed.

In the survey, 6 percent of firms said they were being hit directly by the sanctions, while 41 percent said they see their businesses suffering from the indirect impact of the sanctions. Of those, one quarter say the impact is significant.

But half the respondents said the sanctions were justified, while 16 percent would like to see more forceful action.