New Trade Commissioner at the Embassy of Finland
The new Trade Commissioner, Seppo Rantala, had just arrived in Ottawa in early March when the Covid-19 lockdown started. The unusual times have not stopped Rantala from diving right into work. Rantala’s job as Trade Commissioner is to aid the trade between Finland and Canada as a member of the Team Finland network.
”Finland and Canada are like-minded countries. There are many similarities, like high education level, technology, and the cold climate. Plus the love of hockey, of course,” says Rantala. ”Seeing things from a similar perspective and having similar mentalities makes a solid base for doing business. The CETA agreement between Canada and the European Union makes trade even less complicated than before”.
Seppo Rantala, MSc (Chem) thinks it is easy for Finns to work with Canadians. He has experienced it first hand, having worked as a specialist in the field of paper chemicals for Kemira in Nova Scotia in the 90’s. Later, he has obtained plenty of international business experience in Europe, including for a Canadian company Quebecor Inc. and in the United States, where he worked as a Vice President for Kemira. Rantala has also been a UN peacekeeper in Lebanon and an entrepreneur. All this experience should prove useful when helping Finnish and Canadian companies do business.
Seppo Rantala’s roots are in Western Finland. Ostrobothnia is a region from which thousands of people before him have come to Canada. It was also his destination in 1987 when as a young man he sold his vintage car, a 1966 Ford Cortina GT, and travelled to Timmins, Ontario to spend the summer with Finnish-Canadian relatives. As Rantala’s mother quips: ”Our Seppo has always had wanderlust.”
Maybe it was wanderlust that has made Rantala take a chance to live abroad one more time. He hopes to be able to use his vast experience to help Finnish companies entering the North American market. ”I am happy to be back in Canada. Finnish companies have a lot of products and services well suited for the Canadian market, and vice versa,” Rantala says, and welcomes companies from both countries to do more business together. ”One thing has become very clear to me over the years: trade is always mutually beneficial.”