Exporting guide to Estonia
Estonia has been one of the fastest growing economies in the region due to liberalisation of the economy, innovation and openness to foreign capital. This makes it a good starting platform for small and medium enterprises. Estonia ranks highly for ease of doing business and English is widely spoken, making it easy for UK companies to work with local partners.
Growing export market
In the year to March 2019, total UK exports to Estonia amounted to £242 million (ONS, 2019). This was an increase of 17.5% from the previous year and highlights the growing market for UK exports.
Estonia can serve as a gateway to the wider region due to:
- business links with Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) markets
- a high level of Russian language proficiency in the local workforce
- a strategic location making it a good springboard into markets in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Central Europe and Asia.
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
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 aims to develop 5G connectivity in a way that enables the free movement of data, development of innovative services and the introduction of AI.
Estonia has unique expertise in the research, development 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 blockchain companies use Estonia as a base to research, develop and manage consumer, enterprise and government solutions. There are opportunities for UK companies to bid for tenders.
Plans for the construction of a liquefied natural gas terminal are under way. There are opportunities for UK companies to provide consultancy, development and project delivery services, operations and maintenance.
Offshore wind energy
The wind farm near Hiiumaa is expected to enter construction after 2020, when the economic case for the project improves. Opportunities for UK companies include consultancy, development, project delivery, operations and maintenance.
Rail Baltica is an EU priority project which plans to link Finland, the Baltic States and Poland. The project will run until the network is operative in 2026. Opportunities include consultancy, construction, development of railway infrastructure, supply of rolling stock and railway infrastructure equipment.
Major developments in healthcare
Major developments in healthcare infrastructure are expected over the coming years, including in Tallinn and Viljandi.
Developments around the Tallinn Old City Harbour
Development is continuing in the harbour area, with construction of new developments and the planned renovation of existing buildings like Tallinn Linnahall. This creates opportunities ranging from consultancy to construction services.