Enterprise Estonia (EAS) is extending its network of foreign representative offices based on the Estonian business diplomacy action plan. A new export office in Poland will be opened this year and an additional representative will be recruited in Finland. Next year, Enterprise Estonia plans to open representative offices in South Korea and Africa, as well as add one expert to the Chinese market. In order to land additional foreign investments in Estonia, there is a plan to recruit investment advisers in Japan, Great Britain and the Benelux region.
According to Peeter Raudsepp, Chairman of the Management Board of Enterprise Estonia, the influence of foreign representatives on economic growth is immense. “Even with conservative calculations, foreign representative offices are clearly projects that generate revenue, not expenses. For example, last year, the direct contribution of our export advisers to the growth of Estonian exporters' sales revenue was more than 16 million euros. At the same time, the export of the companies we service grew 18% in the respective target markets – while the export of the rest of Estonia to the respective target countries decreased,” Raudsepp explained.
He added that the situation is similar when it comes to foreign investments. “Last year, with the help of investment advisers working abroad, nearly 200 million euros in investments was received, and the creation of 1,000 jobs with higher than average value was supported,” said the Head of Enterprise Estonia.
In this year and next, Enterprise Estonia plans to hire a total of five foreign representatives that handle export and three that handle foreign investments. There is a thorough analysis behind the planning of the new representative offices. “We take the wishes of Estonian companies and the potential of the respective market into consideration. The connections of the foreign country with Estonia, and global trends are also important,” said Raudsepp.
“Trade with Poland has been growing every year, while the relative geographical proximity as well as the large market, with a considerable middle class and purchasing power, are also important arguments. Trade with Finland is growing and our single representative is not able to serve all interested parties. In the case of South Korea, we see potential in the technology sector, the IT sector, as well as, for example, the food sector. Estonia plans to open an embassy there as well, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we will be able to provide export assistance to companies in the form of an adviser familiar with the local business culture,” commented the Head of Enterprise Estonia.
Raudsepp added that an additional export adviser position is also planned for the Chinese market and that the exact target country for the representative office in Africa is still under discussion. “In any case, we are talking about fast-growing markets, the potential of which is just beginning to materialise.”
Photo: Opening of the representative office of Enterprise Estonia in New York – Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and James York, Export Adviser of Enterprise Estonia (29 October 2019)
Representatives of Japan, the United Kingdom and the Benelux region will be joining the Estonian Investment Agency. “Japan is the country that currently contributes the most to foreign investments, and their interest in Estonia is very high, as shown by the recent surge in both inquiries and visits to Estonia.”
“With regard to the UK, we have already changed the role of one of our foreign representatives, and they are now also handling foreign investments in addition to exports. Now that Brexit is confirmed, many companies in the UK are beginning to revise their strategic plans permanently. Being part of the European Union and having a progressive technology environment, we are well placed to bring technology companies to Estonia, so we have decided to hire another investment adviser in the UK,” said Raudsepp.
“Today, one tenth of the foreign investment in Estonia comes from the Benelux region, even though we have previously not had an investment adviser there. These are highly developed economies that can bring a wealth of new knowledge, technologies and smart high-salary jobs to Estonia. As a result, an investment adviser handling the area is a smart addition in order to contribute to the development of the Estonian economy,” said Raudsepp.
When the locations of the new investment advisers were chosen, the living standard, the state of technological development and a number of micro and macro indicators of the target country were taken into account. Enterprise Estonia finally selected countries regarding which it has already sufficient skills and knowledge, in order to contribute to the creation of jobs in Estonia that have a higher added value.
Today, Enterprise Estonia has foreign representative offices in 19 cities in 16 countries: in Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Nuremberg, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Paris, Kiev, Nur-Sultan, New Delhi, Dubai, New York, Beijing, Tokyo, Singapore, and Silicon Valley.