Of concern to domestic policy makers is that trade between Finland and South Africa is very much biased in favour of the former country. Set against this backdrop, Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA) of the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), together with the Finnish Embassy in South Africa, the Finnish South African Trade Guild and Nordea Bank, commissioned Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) to investigate trade and investment relations between South Africa and Finland.
The objective of the study was to: 1) identify commodities and groups of commodities that could begin to reverse this bias, and 2) evaluate what reasonable growth rates of trade between the two countries can be expected in order to close South Africa's gap in trade with Finland. Indeed, the completed document is an analysis of industrial structure and bilateral trade and tariffs between the two countries.
In a three part publication we extract key findings out of the Finland-South Africa trade report, particularly relating to recent and potential South Africa-Finland trade patterns. More formally, Part 1 reviews the structure of bilateral trade between South Africa and Finland, Part 2 identifies sectors at the HS4 and HS6 level that exhibit strong export potential for South Africa into the Finnish market, and Part 3 considers barriers to trade for South African products in Finland.
In an effort to increasingly progress the complexity of our analysis, we begin this review on Finland-South Africa trade by offering a simple analysis of recent bilateral trade patterns between these two countries. Our analysis takes a gradual approach from the aggregate to the more detailed level and is based on annual data from Customs and Excise at current prices and covers the period between 1991 -2001. First, we look at absolute values, trends and patterns at the aggregate level and at a somewhat disaggregated level of 22 commodities clusters. In the last two tables of this section, we will look into the finer details of the trade flows at the HS4 level.