White House East Room Washington D.C. October 2 2:25 P.M. EDT
Thank you very much. Thank you. Look at all the press that you attract. Do you believe this? That's very impressive.
I guess they are not after me. (Laughter.)
I hope not. You're lucky.
Thank you very much. Today, it's my honor to welcome President Niinistö of Finland to the White House. And, Mr. President, it's wonderful to host you once again in Washington. We've gotten to know each other over the last period of time, and it's been - it's been a great experience.
The President and I have just concluded very productive discussions on a number of exciting opportunities for our two nations.
Before going further, I want to express our deep condolences over the horrific stabbing attack that took place yesterday at a college in Finland. America is praying for the victims and their families, and we send our unwavering love and support.
The American and Finnish people are linked by an abiding commitment to self-government, individual rights, democracy, and the rule of law. This past May, our countries celebrated the 100th anniversary of America's recognition of the independent nation of Finland in 1919. As President Wilson wrote at the time, our recognition was "prompted by [the] sympathies for a cause similar to that which caused our own declaration of independence in 1776."
A century after we established diplomatic relations, the United States and Finland remain united by those same cherished values.
Central to this effort is our nations' close cooperation on matters of security and defense. Although Finland is not a member of NATO - you save a lot of money - Finland participates in many NATO missions and exercises. And I'm pleased that Finland is substantially increasing its military budget.
America and Finland are also working together to advance stability, freedom of navigation, and respect for national sovereignty in the Arctic. Both of our nations are committed to a secure Arctic region - free from external intrusion, interference, and coercion. Simply put, we believe that the affairs of the Arctic should be governed by the actual nations of the Arctic. And, as you know, there are other people coming into the Arctic, and we don't like it. And we can't let it happen, and we won't let it happen.
The United States and Finland are likewise partnering to ensure the security of 5G networks. It is critical that we use safe and trustworthy technology providers, components, and supply chains. We welcome the establishment of the UROS Innovation Center in Finland. Qualcomm has done a fantastic job with that. This Innovation Center will greatly expand American and Finnish businesses and cooperation in 5G.
We're also glad that the Finnish company, Nokia - it's a great company - a global leader in 5G technology, is developing its cutting-edge products right here in the United States at Bell Labs in New Jersey.
Across the United States, foreign direct investment from Finland totals over $10 billion. Each year, Finnish-owned companies invest more than $120 million in research and development in America, and expand our exports by more than $1 billion.
Just today, Finnish Nokian Tyres opened a new manufacturing plant in Dayton, Tennessee - a $360 million investment that is creating hundreds of brand new, beautiful jobs for a great state: Tennessee. We love Tennessee. So, they made a wise choice. You never lose when you go to Tennessee.
I encourage other Finnish companies to increase their investments in the United States. There has simply never been a better time to do business in America. We have passed the largest tax cuts and reform, and also regulation cuts, in the history of country. We slashed business tax. And we're fueling job growth through our record-setting campaign to abolish all of those really terrible, unnecessary regulations. We have plenty of regulations, but many of them we didn't need, and we got rid of them.
The American economy is booming, wages are rising, incomes are soaring, and unemployment has hit its lowest level in more than half a century. We want Finnish companies to join in America's extraordinary economic revival. So many countries are coming in. It's the hot place. We have the hottest economy in the world, and it's the hot place to be. They all want to be here.
The President and I are also working on a way to improve international trade based on the principle of fairness and - my favorite word - reciprocity. I hope that Finland, which now holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council, will support our efforts to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement with the European Union. We're going to have to start doing something with the European Union because they have not been treating this country right for many, many years. And they know it. And I tell them, and they know it.
America's trade deficit with the EU has been averaging $160 billion a year for many, many years. Achieving more balanced and robust trade flows would greatly benefit both Finland and the United States. We also appreciate Finland's strong partnership in combatting predatory trade practices worldwide, including the theft of intellectual property.
From trade to security, from travel to commerce, we are immensely grateful for our close and deeply valued friendship with the people of Finland. Great people. And we're now working on a deal to sell a large number of airplanes, fighter jets - hopefully to Finland. We'll see how that works out. But we make the greatest jets in the world. We make the greatest missiles and military equipment anywhere in the world. Nobody is even close.
Mr. President, I want to thank you again for visiting the White House. The history of our two nations is a profound testament to the importance of our independence and resolve to defend it. I look forward to continuing to work alongside of you as we safeguard our precious sovereignty and build a bright future of hope, harmony, and peace for the American and Finnish people.
And thank you very much for being with us at the White House and the Oval Office. We had a very special number of hours. Appreciate it very much. Thank you, sir.
Thank you, Mr. President. First of all, I will deliver your condolences to -
- Finnish people. They do appreciate that. Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen, before meeting, I had some spare time, so I visited a couple of museums here - Museum of American History, Museum of American African History, and Museum of American Indian History. And in addition to that, I had a possibility of attending ceremony in Arlington.
Mr. President, you have here a great democracy. Keep it going on. We were - we had a very good discussion with the President. Like you mentioned, our diplomatic relations are 100 years old. During that time, we have developed our cooperation a lot, not only in official meetings like this, but American and Finnish people, scientists, for example, need each other cooperating, working together.
We have quite a lot of cooperation in security sector, also in defense, because I think that we share the feeling that the most important thing for the nation is to guarantee security to its citizens. And that is the starting point for Finland, also, to this cooperation.
I wanted to take up with the President the importance of transatlantic cooperation. Well, we all know Europe needs USA. But I say that USA needs also Europe. We know the price of everything. We should recognize also the value of everything. We share the same values: democracy, human rights, rule-based order. And in that, we are very similar.
Europe has, in a way, awakened during the couple last years to understand also more about security point of view. And I just want to tell you that, in my opinion, the stronger Europe you have, the stronger partner you have.
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