Against the backdrop of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Finland the authors analyze the trade relations in the Baltic Sea Region in their contribution for the edited volume "The economic state of the Baltic Sea region" by Kari Liuhto (Centrum Balticum, Turku). The authors especially discuss two recent challenges to the Baltic Sea Region's trade: the impaired trade relations with Russia in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis since 2014, and the looming Brexit and its consequences for EU trade. From their analyses of regional and sectoral trade patterns they conclude that the Baltic Sea neighbors’ trade does not focus on the tiny Baltic Sea Region but on large and wealthy markets even in far distant regions. In the era of globalization the Baltic Sea serves as a bridge between regions, it does not appear as an internal market of its own. In this way the Baltic Rim countries are following a tradition of the medieval trade association of the "Hanse" which also linked far distant trade regions with each other. Therefore, these countries should be advocates of free trade in times of re-emerging protectionism, disintegration and economic sanctions.