Finnish minister arrives today to boost commercial relations

Lenita Toivakka
Lenita Toivakka

Finnish Minister of Education and Foreign Trade Lenita Toivakka

A 50-member delegation led by Lenita Toivakka, Finland’s minister of education and foreign trade, will arrive here Sunday to boost bilateral cooperation in different sectors.

“The purpose of the ministerial visit is to promote cooperation mainly in education, health and clean-tech sectors including green technologies,” said Pekka Voutilainen, Finnish ambassador.

In addition, the visit aims to develop commercial relations and to support cooperation between Finnish and Saudi enterprises and organizations, he added.

He pointed out that Toivakka would hold talks with top Saudi officials including Minister of Health Khalid Al-Faleh, Minister of Commerce and Industry Tawfiq Al-Rabiah; and KACARE chief Hashim Abdullah Yamani.

She will also call on Abdulkarim Ibrahim Alnafie, director general of Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF), and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company (KHC). The Finnish minister will also meet with a number of Saudi business leaders including businesswomen during her four-day stay in Riyadh.

Asked about the progressively growing cooperation between the two countries in the filed of nuclear energy, Ambassador Voutilainen said that Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) had started cooperation with the Saudi authorities. He pointed out that Finland had already assigned one expert, who is currently working in Riyadh for KACARE on this joint project.

Voutilainen also pointed out that a 10-member mission from Finnish Geological Survey participated in the Saudi Mining and Minerals Conference, which concluded last week in Riyadh. The Finnish side, he said, is closely working with the Saudi Geological Survey with a vision to further expand cooperation in the field of geological sciences.

In reply to a question about the possibility of holding a joint commission meeting (JEC), the diplomat said that he was exerting efforts to “revive JEC”.

The JEC, which is part of a broader framework cooperation agreement signed between the Kingdom and Finland way back in 1976, has not met frequently in the past, he observed. The JEC has been dormant for quite sometime.


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