Did you know that commerce is the most important sector in Finland in terms of the number of people it employs? Commerce employs ca 300,000 people and generates 10 percent of Finland’s GDP. Many traditional sectors do not come close to matching this. Commerce is not usually thought of as a pillar of Finnish society. However, as Finnish society evolves from one based on industry to one dependent on services, the importance of commerce has increased significantly.
Commerce is playing a central role in the transformation of Finnish industry. For Finnish society, commerce is essential for its wellbeing and success.
Commerce provides employment in Finland and pays its taxes in Finland. Commerce is in fact the single largest employer among the individual branches of Finnish industry.
Finnish commerce competes for customers each day with foreign commerce. Finnish consumers are internationally oriented and avid users of the internet. Online sales have indeed increased rapidly.
Consumers are taxed heavily in Finland through both income taxes and consumption taxes. The Finnish tax system claims over half of all labour costs in the form of taxes for the public sector, leaving less than half in the form of tax-free purchasing power for wage earners. The broad range of taxes increases the cost of labour, which can be seen also in employment figures. In addition, the ability of commerce to generate employment is hampered by consumption taxes that are high in international terms. The heavy tax burden on consumers weakens competitiveness, especially as the role of online sales in cross-border sales is growing continuously.