After being steadily at 9-10th place among Estonia's trade partners, the UK dropped to 11th place in 2016. Bilateral trade with the UK made up 2.5% of Estonia's total trade turnover. The total trade turnover in 2016 was 622 million euros, of which export made up 287 million and import 335 million euros. Exports decreased by 12.4%, imports decreased by 4.7% compared to the numbers the year before.
Estonia-Great Britain trade 2005-2016
Source: Statistical Office of Estonia
Main export articles to the UK in 2016:
- Wood and wood products, wood coal (lumber, prefab articles, wood granules) - 29,7%
- Machinery and equipment - 21,4%
- Other manufactured goods - 21%
Main import articles from the UK in 2016:
- Machinery and equipment - 33,2%
- Prepared foodstuffs - 12,9%
- Transport vehicles - 12,3%
According to Bank of Estonia, as of 31 December 2016, the total of the UK direct investments in Estonia was 338,2 million euros, which made up 1.9% of all foreign direct investments in Estonia. Investments have primarily been made in financial and insurance related activity (56%), real estate (23%), and wholesale and retail trade (21%).
During 2016 the total of Estonia's direct investments in the UK increased by 108% and accounted for 46.8 million euros by the end of the year, which was 0.8% of all Estonia's investments abroad.
According to the Estonian Business Register there were 527 entirely or partially UK-owned enterprises registered in Estonia as of April 2016. The biggest ones being GlaxoSmithKline Eesti OÜ, Seesam Insurance AS, AS Remedia, AS TREV-2 Grupp, OÜ Tonybet, AS G4S Baltics. There are around 40 Estonian companies established in London, which keep their manufacturing and/or developing in Estonia. Of companies started in Estonia, the ones that have earned the most attention in the UK are start-ups or companies offering new IT solutions. Estonian business interests are represented in London by the Enterprise Estonia office and by the Estonian Guild in London (Eesti Gild Londonis). In December 2015 UK branch of the BECC (British-Estonian Chamber of Commerce) in London was opened.
Tallinn and Estonia’s reputation as a tourist destination has grown in Great Britain over the past few years. Great Britain is classified as a high potential market in Estonia’s tourism development plan. In 2015 around 110 000 british tourists visited Estonia, in 2016 the number increased to 116 000. EAS is planning to further intensify its marketing activities towards the UK market in connection with the opening of British Airways direct line between Tallinn and London (Heathrow) in March 2017.
The UK was visited by 75 700 visitors form Estonia in 2016, in 2015 the number was around 85 000.