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Published: 14 June 2013

Increase in imports of services diminished the surplus from international trade in services in 2012

The over EUR 1.8 billion growth in imports of services to EUR 12.9 billion decreased the surplus from international trade in services in 2012. However, exports of services remained unchanged at EUR 15.1 billion. In 2012, the surplus amounted to EUR 2.2 billion. The surplus diminished now for the first time since 2009 and it went below EUR three billion for the first time since 2006.

Imports, exports and surplus of foreign trade in services 2002–2012, mill. euro

Imports, exports and surplus of foreign trade in services 2002–2012, mill. euro

Services were exported to the tune of EUR 15.1 billion in 2012, which means a growth of EUR 0.2 billion from 2011. Services were imported to the value of EUR 12.9 billion, which is more than ever before. Imports grew considerably for the first time since 2008, which ended the growth in the surplus from international trade in services that had continued from 2009. The surplus from international trade in services went down to EUR 2.2 billion, which is EUR 1.6 billion less than in 2011.

The most significant service items in exports of services are computer services, royalties and licence fees, and unclassified business services, which cover 86 per cent of exports of services. Imports grew in all other service items but in construction services, where they diminished slightly. Growth was biggest in other business activities, royalties and licence fees.

The main destination countries of service exports in 2012 were Sweden, the United States and Ireland. Exports to Ireland more than tripled compared with the previous year. Exports to India continued to fall strongly and were only one-quarter from the top figures in 2008 to 2010. The most important countries of service imports were still Germany, the United States, Sweden and the United Kingdom, which all increased their share of imports of services. Imports from Ireland also nearly tripled compared with the year before.

Service exports to EU15 countries rose to EUR 6.1 billion, which is 41 per cent of exports of services. The share of EU15 countries increased by six percentage points from 2011. Imports from EU15 countries went up to EUR 7.8 billion in 2012. The share of the EU15 countries of all imports of services rose from 2011, being 60 per cent.

The statistics on international trade in services are based on Statistics Finland's annual and quarterly inquiries on international trade in services. The data include service trade between group enterprises. The statistics do not include data on transport, tourism, insurance and financial services. The data are used in the compilation of national accounts and as part of the balance of payments produced by the Bank of Finland.

Source: Foreign trade in services 2012, preliminary results, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Risto Sippola +358 9 1734 3383, Pauliina Peltonen +358 9 1734 2585, Marjatta Tenhunen +358 9 1734 2927,

Director in charge: Hannele Orjala

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Tables in databases

Appendix tables

Updated 14.6.2013

Referencing instructions:

Statistics: International trade in services [e-publication].
ISSN=1798-3525. 2012. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 20.8.2019].
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