By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Newly arrived Finnish Ambassador to Mexico Päivi M. Pohjanheimo hosted a diplomatic reception at her residence on Friday, Dec. 6, to mark her country’s 102nd independence anniversary.
On the diplomatic plane, Mexico and Finland have maintained friendly relations for over eight decades, since 1936, when the two nations signed a bilateral Treaty of Friendship in Washington D.C., and in the last five years, there have been an exchange of at least four high-level political visits.
Finland was one of the first country’s to invest in Mexico’s in-bond maquiladora industries after the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, and although Finland’s largest single investor in Mexico, Nokia, sold off its shares to a U.S. firm in 2014, total accumulated Finnish investment here still amounts to about $670 million.
But when it comes to bilateral trade, the figures are less than impressive, under $700 million in combined commercial exchange for 2017.
Finland was part of Sweden from 1154 to 1809, when it became an autonomous grand duchy of the Russian Empire.
But Russian exactions created a strong national spirit among the Finns and on Dec. 6, 1917, the country declared its independence from the czar.
In 1919, Finland became a republic after its new constitution was confirmed and Kaarlo Juho Stahlberg was elected as its first president.
During World War II, Finland was able to successfully defend its freedom and fend off invasions by the Soviet Union and Germany.
In the subsequent half century, the Finns made a remarkable transformation from a rural farm and forest society into a diversified modern industrial economy.