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Foreign Ministry Protects Interests of Estonian Entrepreneurs Abroad

08.02.2011

No. 46-E

In his annual foreign policy address to the Riigikogu, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet noted that Estonia’s success and efforts to join the euro zone and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have been internationally acknowledged. “The euro adds to Estonia’s stability and dependability and is also an essential factor in ensuring the nation’s security. Membership in the OECD is a stamp of approval not only for our economy, but for our society as a whole, offering Estonia new opportunities for further development,” said Paet. Estonia was selected as nation of the year by the economics magazine The Economist.

Paet stated that the Foreign Ministry has worked consistently to more effectively supply entrepreneurs with information about how the state can assist and advise them while they make efforts to enter new markets. “An important task of Estonia’s foreign representations is aiding Estonian entrepreneurs. This purposeful co-operation is reflected in foreign trade statistics too: the export of goods from Estonia increased by 48% during October and November of last year, compared to the same period a year before. We plan to continue protecting the interests of Estonian entrepreneurs and investors abroad and co-operating with Enterprise Estonia as well as different business associations,” said Paet. “We will also continue organising, in co-operation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, business missions for entrepreneurs to target markets, as well as seminars concerning target markets and meetings with the relevant ambassadors,” he stated.

Paet stated that Estonia’s biggest trade partners are still its close neighbours, with whom co-operation becomes more intensive year by year. “Co-operation with the Nordic countries and more widely around the whole Baltic Sea region is valuable for Estonia, and we wish to promote it even more. But more attention should be paid to Asian markets; Estonia’s presence in Asia’s growing markets is of essential importance,” Paet emphasised.

In order to facilitate Estonian entrepreneurs entering the Central Asian market, there are plans to open an embassy in Kazakhstan and an honorary consulate in Osaka in the near future, says Paet. “We would also like to contribute to the development of bilateral relations, including economic relations, with Middle Eastern nations by appointing non-residing ambassadors to all the member countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council as well as Jordan, Lebanon, Singapore, and Syria,” he added.

Paet said that Estonia’s main objective in the course of renewing the European Union’s foreign trade strategy is to further the liberalisation of trade and to safeguard the interests of enterprises and businesses. “A number of states, using the economic crisis as an excuse, have implemented measures that hinder free trade so as to protect their own markets. We would like to focus more on removing these obstacles,” said the foreign minister. Last year the European Union concluded a free trade agreement with South Korea, and active talks are being held with Canada, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and a few other countries.

Full text of the annual foreign policy address to the Riigikogu can be found here: http://www.vm.ee/?q=en/node/10792

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