Outside the EU
Finland's Customs is a service and law-enforcement organisation which also implements the EU Common Customs Policy. With the help of electronic systems, Customs collects duties, taxes and payments related to the EU's internal and external trade, as well as the manufacturing of certain goods.
In addition to the Community legislation, for example, the national Customs Act is applied to Customs taxation, monitoring and statistics of goods imported from and exported to third countries. Additionally, this Act also applies to Customs fraud investigations between Finland and other countries.
A patent and sole right of professional use may be applied for in respect of an invention that may be used for industrial purposes.
EnterpriseFinland has information about internationalisation.
Enterprise-Europe-network provides internationalisation and innovation services for businesses, universities and research centres with an international outlook.
A patent awarded in Finland only protects an invention in Finland. Patenting often has to extend beyond Finland's borders.
The extent of patenting depends on the nature of the business activity and its economic requirements. Patenting abroad is expensive, so a patenting strategy should be considered in detail.
The most common taxes to be paid on imports are Customs duties and value-added tax. Provided that certain requirements are met, customs benefits may apply on imports.
Exporting and importing services
Value-added tax is payable on the sale of goods and services conducted in the form of business in Finland, even if it is conducted by a foreigner or not conducted from fixed premises.
State support for exports
An export can use an export guarantee to obtain working capital from the bank for the preparation period running up to export or for the period after delivery. An export guarantee may also be used as a counter-guarantee for the bank in the event of supply guarantees to foreign buyers.
The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) offers funding services for small and medium-sized enterprises that want to grow and internationalise and that have opportunities to expand their markets as well as adequate resources and expertise.
Finnish Customs' external trade statistics describe the trade of goods between Finland and other Member States of the European Union (EU) and between Finland and third countries, i.e. internal and external trade. The external trade statistics are an official source of information about Finnish imports, exports and balance of trade.
The National Board of Customs taxes and monitors EU internal and external trade and implements the EU's Common Customs Policy.
Customs provides a company with an EORI code, which the company is obliged to use as identification when dealing with customs officials in any EU Member State.
AEO stands for a company which has received a Customs' safety certificate for their clearance and logistics operations, and is thus entitled to benefits in the whole EU. Applying for this certificate is voluntary for businesses.
Exporting goods outside the EU
A registered export customer is a customer of Finnish Customs whose name and address are recorded in the Finnish Customs customer register. Registration as a registered export customer is recommended to all exporters.
There is further information about export and the necessary origin clarifications (certification of origin) and TIR licenses available on the Finnish Customs website.
The export of all goods is restricted or completely prohibited by either Community or national regulations. Such export restrictions include the export of arms, ammunition, dual-use products, cultural artefacts and ozone-depleting substances.
A good's origin may be indicated by the EUR.1 movement certificate or the exporter's declaration.
There is information available about the documents to be completed for imports on the the Finnish Customs website www-sivuilla. Details are declared mainly electronically either as notifications, or directly on the website. Businesses have been able to declare the necessary information on the website from summer 2011 onwards.
The import of some goods is restricted or completely prohibited by either Community or national regulations. Such import restrictions include the import of arms, ammunition and endangered plants and animals.
Transfer and storing of goods
In addition to import and export, there are certain customs procedures which are applied in special cases of foreign trade.
Statistical data on external trade is collected in the EU by means of two different systems. Statistical data about trade with countries outside the EU is obtained by means of the Customs clearance system. Information about trade between Member States is collected using a separate procedure, which is called the Intrastat system. Statistical data on internal and external trade are published as one set of external trade statistics. Advance information about external trade is obtained approximately six weeks after the end of the statistical month, and statistics for individual goods are obtained after approximately nine weeks.
Companies and private individuals may make declarations to Finnish Customs electronically.
Guidelines for what to do in international situations can be found on the Tax Administration website.
Enterprise Finland provides information about the internationalisation of business activity.
The Federation of Finnish Enterprises is an organisation which promotes the interests of small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Finland.
The Federation of Finnish Enterprises network site has sections on internationalisation and on business in Russia, for example.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs supports the Finnpartnership programme and development collaboration in the private sector, provides interest support credit and supports global TV productions that deal with development issues. Aid for project studies by Finnish small and medium-sized enterprises is awarded from local collaboration funds.
Finnvera provides funding and expertise for companies that are internationalising and want funding.