The UK has steadily been among Estonia’s TOP10 trade partners. While the UK dropped to 11th place in 2016, the 2017 saw a significant growth. The overall trade volume increased from 622 mln euros (2016) to 658 euros (+5%), which made up 2.4% of Estonia’s total trade turnover. Export figures remained nearly the same compared to 2016 forming 287 mln euros (2,3% of Estonia’s total export volume), imports increased by 9,6% forming 370,7 mln euros (2,5% of Estonia’s overall import volume).
Source: Statistical Office of Estonia
Main export articles to the UK in 2017:
- Wood and wood products, wood coal (lumber, prefab articles, wood granules) – 31%
- Machinery and equipment – 20%
- Other manufactured goods – 20%
Main import articles from the UK in 2017:
- Machinery and equipment – 46%
- Transport vehicles – 13%
- Chemical products – 9%
According to Bank of Estonia, as of 31 December 2017, UK direct investments in Estonia totalled 420,7 million euros, which made up 2.2% of Estonia’s FDI. The increase compared to the year before was 16,3%. Investments have primarily been made in financial and insurance related activity (56%), real estate (23%), and wholesale and retail trade (21%).
During 2017 the total of Estonia’s direct investments in the UK increased by 51,2% and accounted for 71,2 million euros by the end of the year, which was 1,1% of all Estonia’s investments abroad (14th place).
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. LHV bank opened its subsidiary in London in March 2018. 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.
For both countries, issues related to internet governance and freedom are important, which can be reflected by their membership in Freedom Online Coalition. Practical opportunities for co-operation in cyber affairs and e-governance have also been outlined. In February 2013 a co-operation memorandum between Estonian and UK was signed, and after that good working relations in this area have been established. In 2014 UK introduced a Digital 5 initiative. It unifies leading digital governments (Estonia, Israel, South Korea, New Zealand, United Kingdom) with the goal of strengthening digital economy through changing their experiences and practices.
Tallinn and Estonia’s reputation as a tourist destination has grown in United Kingdom over the years. The UK 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, and in 2017 to 138 500. The UK was visited by 78 000 Estonian residents in 2017, in 2016 the figure was 75 700, and in 2015 around 85 000.
There are several airlines that operate directly between Tallinn and London, e.g EasyJet, British Airways, Ryanair. Wizz Air has announced the launch of of Tallinn-London route in September 2018. According to Tallinn Airport data, London is the top one destination among passengers flying from Tallinn Airport.