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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Foreign Ministry Supports Entrepreneurs in Entering Foreign Markets

09.03.2012

No. 64–E

Today at the anniversary conference of the Estonian Employers’ Confederation, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the Foreign Ministry would like to help Estonian entrepreneurs enter and be active on foreign markets and in general help to create a favourable foreign economic environment for Estonian businesspeople.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that today Estonia’s economic indicators are good.  “Last year’s economic results, which included a 38% growth in imports, were strong and some of the best in Europe,” he noted. The foreign minister also added that we should not be lulled into contentment by these numbers. “We must not forget that the Estonian market is of limited size, and export is the lifeblood of our economy,” Paet emphasised. “It is also important that the exports of EU member states, including Estonia, do not remain within the borders of the European Union. We must find ways to direct more of it outside the EU’s borders,” he added. However, he stated, the growth of economies in Asia and other distant places does not mean that our close neighbourhood and Europe are losing their significance. “We must look for opportunities in Asia and elsewhere to find our own niche in the market. However, we must also understand that in a globalising world the competition among companies, industrial sectors and geographical regions is constantly increasing,” he said.

Since the Estonian economy depends largely on foreign markets, Paet said that the Foreign Ministry should stand firmly for the foreign interests of Estonian companies. “The Foreign Ministry and our network of foreign representations promote Estonia’s economic interests and protect and support the activities of our enterprises in other countries. The efforts of all companies and economic sectors are important to us,” he confirmed. The foreign minister added that foreign trade interests, especially export interests, are also taken into account in the development of Estonia’s network of foreign representations. “Estonia’s network of representations is already closely tied to our companies’ interests. The recently opened embassy in Kazakhstan and consulate general in Shanghai as well as the embassy in India, which will be opened soon, were strongly motivated by our desire to intensify business ties,” he stated. The Foreign Ministry continues to analyse opportunities and the feasibility of opening representations in places like Brazil, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and the Western Balkans in the future.

Paet also emphasised that in order to adapt quickly to the changing economic landscape and growing competition, we must employ resourcefulness in our business diplomacy. One possibility is to offer support to Estonian entrepreneurs in close co-operation with other countries. “This is how the recent visit to Indonesia by me and the foreign trade minister of Finland along with a business delegation took place,” Paet noted. The foreign minister added that working together made it possible to utilise the strengths of both countries. “Finland and Estonia are both small countries, and together we are more attractive,” he stated.

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