China-Finland Co-operation, Trade, and Investment: In Search of Common Ground
The importance of co-operation with China has been growing in Finland and the rest of Europe in view of the rising global economic and political status of China and the interest in attracting Chinese investments. In Finland, government agencies have been established for this purpose, and regional and local governments are also actively involved. Delegation visits between China and Finland have been intensively on-going for some years, but matching interests and finding common ground for co-operation, trade and investment often still proves to be a challenging task.
Based on interviews with Finnish representatives and on observing delegation visits, this paper explores the difficulties that Finns report to be having in moving past a general level of interest by the Chinese in Finland and presents suggested solutions.
Speech codes theory by Philipsen (1997) and the notion of common ground by Stalnaker (1999) form the theoretical basis of this paper. The results illustrate how a lack of serious interest, vague or restrictive government regulations, the long time to build relationships, and the involvement of intermediaries are seen by interviewees as factors contributing to talks often remaining at a general level. Suggested strategies to create more possibilities for finding common ground and for making co-operation talks more specific include presenting areas of expertise in Finland and matching those with Chinese needs, utilizing the pragmatism that is seen to be characteristic of both cultures, and investing in building necessary connections and relationships.
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