All the fireworks on sale in Finland have been manufactured abroad since the closure of the last Finnish fireworks factory in Tuusula in the mid-2000s. Most come from China because of the low prices and the expertise in manufacturing fireworks the country can offer, according to Kalervo Kaarre, managing director of Suomen Ilotulitus and Tero Liinanki, managing director of Tulitemestarit.
”China has the longest fireworks traditions and the best know-how. They can meet our quality requirements,” explains Liinanki.
The preparations for the busy fireworks season just before the New Year’s Eve start already during the spring when detailed information on the fireworks expected to be popular the following winter are sent to Chinese factories.
Products manufactured according to instructions are then tested, packed to containers and sent to Central Europe from where they continue their journey to Finland in smaller ships. When they arrive in Finland, Tukes runs tests on products that do not carry the European CE label.
Tukes does not have information on working conditions and safety in the fireworks factories.
”The Finnish importer decides whether to buy lower quality cheaply or pay more and get better quality,” Roudasmaa comments.
Both Suomen Ilotulitus and Tulitemestarit have set stringent criteria for the quality of production, working conditions and safety in the factories they place orders with, strictly forbidding the use of child labour.
“We only use factories that we know take care of these things. This way we can also be sure that the factory will be in operation through the whole year and doesn’t get into trouble with local authorities,” explains Kaarre.
The managing directors say that the factories their companies have used have never been found to fall short of the working condition or safety standards. “Were such problems to come to light, the factory would lose a number of orders straightaway because the word would spread,” says Liinanki.
According to Kaarre, conditions in factories have improved in recent years as the Chinese authorities have imposed stricter regulations for example concerning the amount of gunpowder that can be processed and stored at a given time.
There are, however, large differences between export companies and factories that focus on the domestic market.
“Regulations on the use of fireworks by consumers are not as strict as in Europe,” comments Kaarre.
Photo: Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva
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