Finland's Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Ville Tavio, expressed keen interest in fostering collaboration with India in high-tech sectors such as 6G, quantum computing, and green hydrogen. Tavio, who headed a business delegation to attend the India Nordic-Baltic Business Conclave, met Union Power Minister R.K Singh and Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to discuss potential partnerships.
"We have a good trade going on already between Finland and India, and we see lots of potential for growing that trade. Finland is happy to work with India, and we already have some big companies well established here," Tavio stated during his visit.
Finland places a significant emphasis on clean technology, biofuels, waste-to-energy solutions, and sustainable practices. Tavio discussed the 'Desi' program, an initiative facilitating networking between Finnish and Indian companies with a sectoral approach, focusing on digitalisation, education, sustainability, and innovation.
Furthermore, the minister mentioned about the meeting with Invest India, the counterpart for new businesses, and expressed hopes for startup collaborations.
Tavio spoke about the importance of more trade and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between the European Union and India. "It would be mutually beneficial if it succeeds," he said.
As a representative of Finland, he urged both India and the European Union to keep the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations going on. When asked about the timeline, he said 'I don't have a timeline to give, but negotiations are probably the answer to this question'.
Excerpts from the interaction:
India has set an ambitious goal of establishing 6G technology by 2030. Finland has got expertise in this domain.
Nokia is our flagship enterprise. Apart from cellphones they have the networks. I think Nokia is already well established in India in the network space. It is a very special and reliable company. So I think the best way to go forward is actually to keep on working with Nokia networks.
Have you had any discussions with Indian government officials regarding 6G? What is the way forward?
The topic of 6G was acknowledged, but there was no in-depth technical discussion.
But you will be aiming for a collaboration with India on 6G?
Absolutely, yes. I think that is obviously an important sector. Another sector that we touched up on this trip is quantum computing. Finland is the world leader in quantum. And that is something we have developed through efforts that took us 40-50 years. The products will be fully functional in a couple of years. That is like a big opportunity for any country. I know India is also interested in this.
Last year, Finland doubled the number of work visas for the nurses and skilled labourers. Can you comment on the present inflow pattern?
We have an upcoming talent boost program, and we want skilled professionals to have opportunities to work for the Finnish companies in Finland. We have lots of research and development with regard to the tech companies, specifically.
What are the specific skills you are looking at?
The skills would be coding, ICT (Information and Communications Technology), and engineering, which are the very foundation of our emerging technologies. They could also include physics, quantum computing, and all sorts of tech. We have some [related to] gaming industry as well. But most of all, I would say it's biofuels. We have the IT sector as well.
What is your take on the opportunities for nurses in Finland?
Yes, probably that is also an important sector. I think the main concern is that, in technology sector, in ICT, in engineering, and in biochemistry you can manage very well with English language. So India would be strong. But when it comes to nursing, some level of Finnish language proficiency would be required.
Finland aims to increase the number of students by threefold by 2030. What are your thoughts?
I do not think the number of Indian students in Finnish universities is as big as in some of the other countries in Europe. So I think there is room for growth. We have a high level of education like India does. It might be a good opportunity for a growing number of Indian students. We will be welcoming more skilled professionals and students from countries like India.