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Russian-Finnish trade to be almost unaffected by US sanctions — expert

July 31, 2015, 19:35 UTC+3 HELSINKI
The Finnish companies included in the expanded US blacklist were not major employers in Finland, a Finnish parliamentary deputy from the National Coalition Party says
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© AP Photo/Lehtikuva/Vesa Moilanen

HELSINKI, July 31 /TASS/. New anti-Russian sanctions imposed by US will not have any serious consequences for the Russian-Finnish trade relations, Kai Mykkänen, a Finnish parliamentary deputy from the National Coalition Party, said on Friday.

He explained that the Finnish companies included in the expanded US blacklist were not major employers in Finland. "Of course, it is sad for separate people and companies," the deputy said in an interview with the Yle television channel.

New US sanctions imposed on Russia should not have a direct impact on Finland or serve as pretext for the Finnish authorities to introduce restrictive measures against individuals included in the new US sanctions list, Paivi Kaukoranta, the head of the Finnish Foreign Ministry’s legal service, told TASS earlier on Friday.

"We have got in touch with the US authorities and asked them for explanations. However, we can now see that the sanctions list itself contains all the necessary explanations. I am not going to say whether what we know will be enough for us and if we are going to wait for some new information," Kaukortanta said.

She expressed the hope that the US sanctions would not serve as ground for the Finnish authorities to freeze assets because the US and Finland had various legislations. She did not rule out, however, that other consequences, which in fact she did not clarify, might follow given the interdependency in global economy.

Meanwhile, the Finnish companies blacklisted by US have refrained from any comments. "There are no comments because we do not know what to say," Airfix Aviation Oy representative told TASS. The Finnish ice hockey club Jokerit has also refrained from comments: the United States has blacklisted its co-owner Roman Rotenberg and board member Kai Paananen, a citizen of Finland.

"We know about that. But previously we made a strategic decision not to comment the inclusion of Jokerit members in the sanctions lists," the club’s CEO, Jukka Kohonen, said.

In an interview with the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, Paananen said he was surprised with what had happened to him. "It’s very strange that a Finnish national has been included in the list. I consider it to be offending because I was just responsible for Finnish exports abroad," Paananen said adding he would clarify the matter with the Finnish authorities.

Paananen headed the SET Group, which also comprises the sanctioned SET Petrochemicals Oy and Southeast Trading Oy.

Last Thursday, the United States imposed new Ukraine-related sanctions on legal entities and individuals who provide support to previously sanctioned billionaire Gennady Timchenko and Russian businessman Boris Rotenberg. The blacklist announced by the Treasury Department includes Finnish national Kai Paananen; Boris Rotenberg’s son Roman Rotenberg as well as several Finnish companies such as Airfix Aviation Oy /based in Finland/; SET Petrochemicals Oy /based in Finland/ and Southeast Trading Oy (based in Romania, Russia and Finland).

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