Importing from developing countries

Are you planning on importing from developing countries?

There are expertise and products in developing countries that are in demand in Finland. In a global world, export trade is one of the key indicators of economic growth for developing countries.

The products in developing countries can expand their markets through exporting. Exporting allows greater production quantities, often higher prices and a more comprehensive and mature product selection. All of these are characteristics of a business in a developing society. Importing to Finland can be an effective way to achieve positive development impact in the product’s origin country by developing local expertise and by creating jobs, for example.


Information for companies to support importing from developing countries

Finnpartnership shares information about operators, markets and information sources associated with importing from developing countries as well as companies that are currently importing and exporting. Below, we have compiled a list of operators and services that support importing from developing countries. We recommend that you use this list when planning a project involving importing.

Finnpartnership’s Matchmaking service also for import partners

Finnpartnership conveys business partnership initiatives submitted by companies from developing countries to Finnish companies. By using the free Matchmaking service, companies in developing countries are able to also seek a distributor or representative for their products in Finland. Companies seeking Finnish business partners can register for the service using this link. Finnish companies, in turn, can seek business partners by industry and/or country using the Matchmaking search.

Product-specific import reports

These reports contain useful information on the essential matters for importing the product and general information on the product’s market in Finland.

Coffee in Finland report (1MB)

Tea in Finland report (1MB)

Cocoa in Finland report (1.6MB)

Spices and Herbs in Finland report (1.3MB)

Bed & Bath Linen and Decoration Textiles in Finland report (5.7MB)

Home Accessories in Finland report (3.7MB)

Tropical and off-season fruits in Finland report (2MB)

Nuts and nut-related snacks in Finland report (2MB)

Organic and natural cosmetics in Finland report (994KB)

Canned fruits and vegetables in Finland report (2 MB)

Dried fruits and vegetables in Finland report (2 MB)

Finnish Edutech Sector report (929 KB)

ICT and Digitalization in Finland report (1 MB) – Watch a video interview on this topic from 2021 via this link.

Footwear in Finland report (888 KB)

Frozen fish and crustaceans in Finland report (960 KB)

Preserved and processed fish and seafood in Finland report (1022 KB)


Examples of Fish Consumption Habits in Finland report (6 MB)

Examples of Leather Shoe Purchasing Habits in Finland report (3 MB)

EC’s Trade Helpdesk (formerly Export Helpdesk)

The European Commission’s Trade Helpdesk service, which is intended for developing countries, offers timely help when planning an import project. It offers information on import duties, rules or origin, taxes and other requirements, among other things. The site also includes import statistics by product.

Trade Helpdesk



For detailed requirements for importing, you can also contact Customs.

Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto)

Finnish Food Authority investigates and oversees the safety and quality of food in Finland. It provides information on what should be considered when importing foods, animals or plants to Finland.

Finnish Food Authority

Open Trade Gate Sweden (OTGS)

OTGS supports companies from developing countries to export to Sweden and the European Union. OTGS assists exporters with rules, information on the Swedish market and product specific requirements. OTGS gives information through their website, via tailor-made email support and seminar/webinars. OTGS also works with capacity building on a longer term in multi-year projects where they support companies and business support organizations in the process of reaching the Swedish market. All OTGS’ services are free-of-charge. You can read more about OTGS here.

Finnpartnership and OTGS are both part of the TRIC (Trade Related Instruments Connected) network. You can find OTGS’ product specific market reports below, which can be useful for those interested in exporting to Sweden and to Nordic countries.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables report

Superfoods report

Textiles report

Processed food report

Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI)

CBI supports export companies in developing countries in accessing the EU market by offering training and support in developing their export potential, helping to identify contacts in companies in the EU region, and by offering information on EU marketing.


Import Promotion Desk (IPD)

IPD offers advisory services, networks and export capability development services for SMB companies in developing countries that are seeking sales channels and new customers in EU markets. IPD is a joint-programme implemented by the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services and the private sector development cooperation association Sequa gGmbH.


The Ministry’s Market Access Unit

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs aims to actively make importing easier and to resolve trade obstacles for products and services from developing countries. The Ministry offers its services to companies and associations. If you have encountered an import trade obstacle and you need further information, contact the Trade Policy Department’s Market Access Unit at the Ministry. The service is for all countries.

The Ministry’s Market Access Unit

ITC Sustainability Map

The International Trade Centre (ITC) has published the Sustainability Map, which is a free online platform. Its goal is to increase the transparency and connectivity of international value chains. The Sustainability Map offers users better operational practices and more comprehensive information on responsibility initiatives and standards. The map can be used for local, regional and international value chains in order to gain a better understanding of responsibility standards, which are relevant to export markets and finding partners. The main beneficiaries of the platform are micro and small and medium-sized companies, in addition to international buyers. In addition, it is beneficial to public sector actors who need to understand how sustainable production and consumption trends affect the competition of their main industries and domestic exporters. The sustainability map consists of four modules; Standards, Networks, Communities and Trends.

  • Using the Standards module, users are able to analyse and compare information pertaining to voluntary standards. Actors are able to conduct self-assessments in relation to the requirements of the standards. The module includes over 230 voluntary standards from over 80 sectors and 180 different countries/regions.
  • The Networks module helps with improving transparency and building cooperation and commitment between different players in the value chain. The virtual community gives users the opportunity to share information about their business and responsibility with brokers, buyers, standards organisations, certifying bodies, funding providers and other actors.
  • The Community module connects organisations and experts. The SustainabilityXchange platform offers information and material for improving capacity and is mainly intended for educators, companies, standards organisations, NGOs and governments.
  • The Trends module allows users to review production-related market information.

More information and the ITC Sustainability Map are available here.

Business partnership support also for import projects

Finnish companies and organisations can apply for financial support through Finnpartnership for import projects that aim to establish sustainable business relationships with operators in developing countries. This allows both development in the target countries and the expansion to new markets by Finnish companies. Business partnership support is not granted for export projects. For more information please visit FAQ and “What kind of import projects from developing countries are supported?”