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Date: 10 May 2012
Title: SA, Finland bolster relations
Pretoria - Fresh from his successful working visit to Germany this week, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has arrived in Helsinki, Finland, where he is scheduled to meet that country's Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen on a working visit.
On Tuesday, Motlanthe opened the 7th South Africa - Germany Bi-National Commission in Berlin, where he extended an invitation to the European nation to invest in South Africa's massive state-led infrastructure drive.
The Presidency said the purpose of the Finland visit was to further strengthen bilateral political and economic relations between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Finland.
"He will hold discussions with the Prime Minister of Finland where they will consolidate identified areas of bilateral and trilateral co-operation," read a statement issued by the Presidency.
Despite the trade balance between South Africa and Finland being skewed in Finland's favour, the two countries continue to have extensive trade and economic relations.
South Africa's most important exports to Finland are paper pulp, dried and fresh fruits, iron and steel and alcoholic beverages. Finland's most important export products to South Africa are telecommunication equipment, machinery and paper and paperboard products.
South Africa was Finland's second largest trade partner in the group of developing countries and constituted just less than 1% of Finland's total foreign trade.
South African exports to Finland have increased from R163.337 million in 2000 to R675.788 million in 2009, while imports from Finland increased from R2.567 billion in 2000 to R3.253 billion in 2009. The trade balance between South Africa and Finland in 2009 was R2.577 billion. - BuaNews