Future of Maine’s forest industry possibly lies in Finland

Endless trees. Paper and pulp. If you compare a photo of Maine and Finland, only a few could tell the difference at first look. Both have a history of harvesting the forest. Both, over the last several years, have seen mill closures and a change in the paper industry. Over the last decade, Finland has invested financially, and with research and development, to make their forest industry into a thriving, sustainable bioeconomy. Maine leaders want to make a carbon-copy if you will.

t’s not seen as a competition, Finnish and Maine leaders see it as an opportunity to grow together.

The Finland-Maine trade and study mission was scheduled to take place in June. COVID-19 changed the travel plans but it didn’t stop the goal, focusing on 100% resource utilization from the forest industry.

“There was so much excitement around this trip that we didn’t want to cancel,” Dana Eidsness, Director of the Maine North Atlantic Development Office at the Maine International Trade Center. “We had to be a little clever and come up with a way to move forward and the solution we came up with was to condense a week-long trade and study mission into two webinars and online business matchmaking.”

Currently, 37 Maine companies are signed up for the August 20 webinar. Eidsness says 35 have already expressed interest in the matchmaking component. This could mean an increase in exports for both the state and companies, new buyers or distributors, and partners.

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