PM Vanhanen urges forest industry to come up with new products
“Something new has to be devised to accompany paper and pulp”
Last week the Finnish Forest Industries Federation presented the government with a long list of demands with regard to measures to enhance the industry’s business environment in Finland.
The wood processing companies call for a lot of speedy changes, in particular to the present energy taxation policy.
According to Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre Party), the government will give serious thought to the presented demands, though some of the items on the wish list are already being deliberated within the forestry sector strategy programme that was launched in March.
”Within the government we are now discussing how to tackle these questions. Most of the suggestions are realisable. Almost all of them are under consideration on the government work sheet”, says Vanhanen.
However, the forest industry alone cannot be subject to tax concessions, for example.
“Taxation matters pertain to the entire field of entrepreneurship”, Vanhanen emphasises. As an example, he mentions the demands to remove the electricity tax. “That is a huge taxation policy question.”
The tightening of energy taxation is being planned only after the economic crisis, for the year 2011.
“The forest industry representatives have grumbled about this, but they have also admitted point-blank that from the industry’s total profitability point of view, the energy taxation question is but a thin slice”, Vanhanen continues.
In Vanhanen’s view what the presented list is decidedly lacking is the industry’s own intentions, for example, to set up large biodiesel facilities.
Such initiatives are what Vanhanen longs for.
“Of course we also expect the industry to come up with new products, for which the allocated research funds are used. There has to be a readiness for large investments, so that something new can be introduced in Finland to accompany paper and pulp.”
“This is not merely a question of making the present paper and pulp production more efficient, but a question of developing and advancing the companies. Paper and pulp still play an important role, but their prospects look to be diminishing”, Vanhanen points out.
Vanhanen considers it important that the forest industry companies start envisioning large-scale domestic investments in the coming years.
“And I am taking about alternative products, of which biodiesel is surely the most concrete one.”
According to Vanhanen, even the forest industry itself admits that it has been a “sleeping beauty during the past years”.
“Old products were relied on too heavily, and the world passed them by.”
Previously in HS International Edition:
Forest industry leaders warn of consequences of new energy tax (7.4.2009)
Finnish Forest Industries Federation