Uruguay President Jose Mujica is in Helsinki this week encouraging Finnish investors to double down on a country and a sector they have dominated in recent years: Uruguay cellulose pulp production.

Yesterday President Mujica and a large delegation of Uruguay government officials met with senior executives at the Helsinki headquarters of UPM, the company that operates Uruguay’s first billion dollar pulp mill in the town of Fray Bentos. Last year, UPM sold 3.3 million tons of pulp to clients worldwide, and one-third of that total came from Uruguay.

Mujica Strengthens Ties With UPM is the headline of iProfesional’s analysis of yesterday’s talks intended to encourage the Finnish giant to move forward with construction of Uruguay’s third billion-dollar pulp mill in the Department of Cerro Largo in northeastern Uruguay, a region with hundreds of thousands of acres of government-designated forestry priority soils and high-quality eucalyptus stands.

In a sit-down interview with Svenksa Yle’s Jessica Stolzmann, President Mujica emphasized the importance of the country’s first two pulp mills, UPM and Montes del Plata, which together created over 10,000 new jobs with well above average salaries.

When pressed about their potential environmental impacts, the always outspoken Mujica defended Finnish pulp prowess: “Finnish technology in this arena has proven to be very serious regarding environmental protection. If the plants were made by us, or Italians or Spaniards, the topic would be very questionable.”

In closing, he added that Uruguay forestry-related exports will soon exceed the US$2 billion the country generates annually from beef exports. Indeed, a new government report this week estimates Uruguay forestry production will surge 40% next year alone. (Full Story in Swedish)

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