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Multinationals vital to Nordic exports

Multinationals setting up operations in a Nordic country play a significant role in that country’s exports. This is shown in a unique new Nordic analysis, which also reveals that the Nordic countries lost more than 200 000 jobs in the exporting manufacturing enterprises 2008 to 2014.

21.11.2016
Photographer
Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org

The report shows that Iceland is the most successful Nordic country in terms of exports of services. In the period 2010-2014, exports of services from Iceland increased by no less than 42 percent. The corresponding increase for Sweden was 38 percent, Norway 20, Denmark 18 and Finland 0.9 percent.

The new groundbreaking report Services and Goods Exports from the Nordics – Strongholds and profiles of exporting enterprises is carried out by the five Nordic statistical agencies and OECD, and it is financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The report provides a profiling of Nordic enterprises engaged in international trade in services – and analyses goods exporting enterprises according to size and ownership.

The analysis shows that exports from the Nordic countries largely depend on attracting foreign companies, and that new Nordic enterprises quickly start exporting when they are set up.

Important facts for policy making

The report shows that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) belonging to a large group are especially important when it comes to exports, accounting for more than two-thirds of total SME exports from Finland and Sweden and half of total SME exports from Denmark.

The report also shows that born globals – new enterprises that export in their first or second year of operation – have considerably higher survival rates than other new enterprises in all five Nordic countries.

- The analysis shows that exports from the Nordic countries largely depend on attracting foreign companies, and that new Nordic enterprises quickly start exporting when they are set up. I’m pleased about this new knowledge, which can help in national policy development to promote exports that can finance the Nordic welfare model, says Dagfinn Høybråten, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

"Globalisation poses challenges"

The report was prepared under the leadership of Statistics Denmark, and the Director General Jørgen Elemskov emphasises its unique nature:

-    Globalisation poses challenges to the current statistical production. Existing statistical indicators become harder to interpret due to relocation of intangible assets and cross-border changes in ownership. At the same time, needs arise for indicators to describe new features, such as the increasing global fragmentation of the production chain. The project delivers new insights into the composition of Nordic trade in goods and services.

The project delivers new insights into the composition of Nordic trade in goods and services.

- It also shows the importance of multinationals for exports from the Nordics and the involvement of Nordic enterprises in global value chains. The project presents an internationally innovative way of establishing new statistical information based on harmonised firm-level databases in the Nordic statistical offices – but without increasing the burden on enterprises, because existing statistical registers are utilised.”

Ground-Breaking project

Martine Durand, Chief Statistician at the OECD, refers to the Nordic project as ground-breaking:

- Set against a backdrop of slowing trade and growing concerns that globalisation may be associated with increasing inequalities in many countries, the need for improved statistics on the inter-relationships between trade, investment and production, and ultimately well-being, has never been stronger.

- Shedding new light on the role of SMEs and MNEs in global value chains, this ground-breaking project is an important milestone in that regard. Global production in the 21st century requires 21st century national statistical information systems that, by developing international integrated economic accounting systems, put ‘global’ at the heart of ‘national’. I trust this project will help to accelerate momentum on that important front.

Contacts

Kristian Henriksen
Phone +45 29 69 29 93
Email krhe@norden.org

Peter Bøegh Nielsen
pbn@dst.dk
+45 41 10 31 41