Exporting guide to Estonia
Estonia has been one of the fastest growing economies in the region. This is due to liberalisation of the economy, innovation and openness to foreign capital. The Estonian legal and tax environment is entrepreneur-friendly. Innovative e-services mean that it takes no more than 3 hours to start a business online. It does almost all banking transactions and tax declarations online.
This makes it a good starting platform for small and medium enterprises. English is widely spoken, making it easy for UK companies to work with local partners.
Growing export market
The UK and Estonia are like-minded countries in most respects. Estonia is a small country with a potential greater than its size which makes it ideal for UK exporters to discover. The UK has steadily been among Estonia’s top 10 trade partners with potential to grow in both physical goods and services.
Estonia serves as a gateway to the wider region including markets in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Central Europe and Asia. It is the geographical midpoint of Northern Europe. Due to its strategic location, modern infrastructure, multi-modal capabilities and reliable but flexible approach, it is the best place to set up distribution centres and to generate added value.
Estonia: at a glance
Want to see more on Estonia? Sign up for additional market data, content specific to your product or sector and to compare Estonia side by side with other markets.
Opportunities for exporters
There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries. Our trade advisers in Estonia have identified particular opportunities for UK businesses in the following sectors:
IT research and development
Estonia has a talent pool with world-class IT education, skills and experience. Significant corporate research and development (R&D) takes place in Estonia in areas such as AI and big data. Estonia’s IT R&D ecosystem is helped by modern digital infrastructure and a pro-business environment which is free from red tape and promotes innovation.
Estonia has unique expertise in the R&D and management of cyber security solutions and systems. It is home to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (NATO CCDCOE) and the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems (EU LISA). World-leading cyber security and block chain companies use Estonia as a base to research, develop and manage consumer, enterprise and government solutions.
Hydrogen is expected to play a important role in decarbonisation of energy systems. Estonia’s main challenge is decarbonising its transport sector, which currently is not on track to meet its short-term emission and energy efficiency targets. The UK aims to be the global leader on hydrogen by 2030 so UK companies with expertise and knowledge can play an important role in shaping Estonia’s hydrogen supply chain.
The emerging offshore wind market in Estonia offers great opportunities for UK companies. This involves sharing best practice, projecting the UK’s leadership in clean growth and offering new opportunities for engagement. Estonia is in the early stages of development of their offshore wind industry. Currently its first-ever maritime spatial plan is under government review. Estonia has strong potential in offshore wind power, with 7GW of total potential capacity identified. Also, the Estonian and Latvian governments have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to start planning a joint offshore wind farm between Estonia and Latvia. Opportunities for UK companies include consultancy, development, project delivery, operations and maintenance.
Rail Baltica is a priority project which plans to link Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland with the rest of the EU using European standard gauge railway. The project in Estonia is moving from design phase to construction phase. Opportunities include consultancy, construction, the development of railway infrastructure and the supply of rolling stock and railway infrastructure equipment.
Major developments in healthcare infrastructure are expected over the coming years, including a new hospital in Tallinn.