President Nathan and his wife were given a ceremonial welcome at the Presidential Palace. President Nathan is the first Singapore president to make a state visit to Finland. How ever this is the second time Mr Nathan has met Finnish President Tarja Halonen, as she visited Singapore in February 2008.
At his meeting with his Finnish counterpart, Mr Nathan said both countries placed importance on education, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Both leaders discussed the mutual concerns faced by both countries on developments in a fast changing world. Both countries are “small” countries sandwiched by much larger neighbours and have a population size of about 5 million people.
“We are in many ways similar, even if we are far away from each other…we are little bit like the cousins, not the first cousins but the same spirit of the family, the population size is about the same, we are all in very good places in international comparisons, whether you count — on how to be competitive or in education or many other issues. We are interested in high tech, we are interested in green technology, we are working for the sustainable development,” said President Halonen.
Mr Nathan said Singapore is looking at Finland to penetrate the Nordic market and hopes Finnish companies will also be attracted to the city state.
Singapore and Finland conducted $920 million in trade last year.