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Cablegate: 2010 Investment Climate Statement - Estonia

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DE RUEHTL #0030/01 0151500
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151459Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY TALLINN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0335
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 0027
RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA 0073
RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN
RUEHVL/AMEMBASSY VILNIUS 0075

UNCLAS TALLINN 000030

SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT FOR EB/IFD/OIA, EUR/NB
DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS USTR FOR JKALLMER AND OPIC FOR O'SULLIVAN
TREASURY FOR DO/JMACLAUGHLIN
USDOC FOR ITA/DERSTINE
HELSINKI FOR SCO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN BEXP ETRD EINV ELAB KTDB OPIC USTR PGOV EN
SUBJECT: 2010 INVESTMENT CLIMATE STATEMENT - ESTONIA

REF: 09 STATE 00124006

A.l Openness to Foreign Investment

As a member of the EU, the Government of Estonian (GOE) maintains
liberal policies in order to attract investments that could produce
exports. Foreign investors are treated on an equal footing with
local investors. While the GOE's focus in the mid-1990s was to
attract foreign direct investment (FDI) into Estonia, finding new
export markets for Estonian goods and services is the GOE's current
priority. Creating favorable conditions for FDI and openness to
foreign trade has been the foundation of Estonia's economic
strategy.

Estonia's government does not screen foreign investments, nor has
it set limitations on foreign ownership. It does, however,
establish requirements for certain sectors. These requirements are
not intended to restrict foreign ownership but rather to regulate
it and establish clear ownership responsibilities. Licenses are
required for a foreign investor to become involved in the following
sectors: mining, energy, gas and water supply, railroad and
transport, waterways, ports, dams and other water-related
structures and telecommunications and communication networks. The
Estonian Financial Supervision Authority issues licenses for
foreign interests seeking to invest in or establish a bank.
Additionally, the Estonian Competition Authority reviews
transactions for anti-competition concerns. Government review and
licensing have proven to be routine and non-discriminatory.

Estonia's privatization program is now complete. Only a small
number of enterprises -- the country's main port, the power plants,
the postal system, and the national lottery -- remain wholly
state-owned. The GOE is a minority shareholder in Estonian Air
with 34 percent of shares (SAS Group is the largest shareholder,
with 49 percent). In January 2007, the government also repurchased
the 66 percent of shares of the Estonian Railway which had been in
the hands of private investors since 2001, claiming the need to
maintain control of this key part of Estonia's national
infrastructure.

During the last decade, Estonia has been one of the leading
countries in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of inward
investment per capita. Some general facts concerning foreign
direct investment inflows into Estonia include:

- There is a trend towards cross-border acquisitions;

- Greenfield investments are increasingly rare;

- FDI is expected to jump if Estonia meets all the Maastricht
criteria by spring 2010 and adopts the euro as planned in January
2011.

Estonia by international indexes/rankings:

year Index/Ranking

--------------------------------------------- -------------

TI Corruption Index 2009
27

Heritage Economic Freedom 2009 13

World Bank Doing Business 2010 24

MCC Govnt Effectiveness 2008 1.1488

MCC Rule of Law 2008
1.0544

MCC Control of Corruption 2008 0.94

MCC Fiscal Policy 2008
1.28E-02

MCC Trade Policy 2009
87.48

MCC Regulatory Quality 2008 1.47

MCC Business Start Up 2009 0.99

MCC Natural Resource Mgmt 2009 98.4

More on rankings:

TI Corruption Index:
http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/s urveys_indices/cpi/200
9/cpi_2009_table

Heritage Economic Freedom:
http://www.heritage.org/index/Ranking.aspx

World Bank Doing Business:
http://www.doingbusiness.org/economyrankings/

MCC:
http://www.mcc.gov/search/results.php?q=FY10+ codebook&Submit=Go&cli
ent=default_frontend&output=xml_no_dtd&proxys tylesheet=default_fron
tend&site=mcc&num=10&filter=0

A.2 Conversion and Transfer Policies

Estonia has been under a currency board arrangement since 1992.
Initially pegged to the German mark, the Estonian kroon (EEK) has
been fixed to the euro at EEK 15.65 since January 1999. Estonia
joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II) in June, 2004.
Estonia is on track to join the Eurozone in early 2011.

The Estonian currency has no restrictions on its transfer or
conversion. Similarly, there are no restrictions, limitations or
delays involved in converting or transferring funds associated with
an investment (including remittances of investment capital,
earnings, loan repayments, or lease payments) into other currencies
at market rates. There is no limit on dividend distributions as
long as they correspond to a company's official earnings records.
If a foreign company ceases to operate in Estonia, all its assets
may be repatriated without restriction. These policies are all
long-standing; there is no indication that they will be altered in
the future. Foreign exchange is readily available for any purpose.

A.3 Expropriation and Compensation

Private property rights are observed in Estonia. The government
has the right to expropriate in the case of public interests

related to policing the borders, public ports and airports, public
streets and roads, supply to public water catchments, etc.
Compensation is offered based on market value. Post is not aware
of any expropriation cases involving discrimination against foreign
owners.

A.4 Dispute Settlement

Investment disputes concerning U.S. or other foreign investors and
Estonia are rare. Estonia's judiciary is independent and insulated
from government influence. Property rights and contracts are
enforced by the courts.

Estonia's commercial law has proven extremely effective and is
often cited as one of the components of Estonia's successful
economic reforms. The Commercial Code, as a part of the overall
commercial law, is consistently applied. The Obligation Law,
enacted in 2002, is the basis for all commercial agreements. A
Bankruptcy Act was adopted in 2004. The full text of these laws
can be found at: http://www.legaltext.ee/en/. Estonia has been a
member of the International Center for the Settlement of Investment
Disputes (ICSID) since 1992 and a member of the New York Convention
of 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral
Awards since 1993.

Recognition of court rulings of EU Member States is regulated by EU
legislation.

The Arbitration Court of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and
Industry is a permanent arbitration court which settles disputes
arising from contractual and other civil law relationships,
including foreign trade and other international economic relations.

A.5 Performance Requirements/Incentives

A fundamental principle of Estonia's economic policy is equal
treatment of foreign and domestic capital. No special investment
incentives are available to foreign investors, nor is any favored
treatment accorded them. Similarly, there are no specific
performance requirements for foreign investments that differ from
those required of domestic investments.

Estonia continues to refine its immigration policies and practices.
U.S. citizens are exempt from the quota regulating the number of
immigration and residence permits issued, as are citizens of the EU
and Switzerland.

Estonia has a long-standing system of low, simple, flat-rate taxes,
in particular, a 21 percent income tax. To encourage companies to
expand their business, all reinvested profits are exempted from
corporate income tax. However, any redistributed profits, such as
dividends, are taxed at 21 percent. This tax strategy was designed
to promote business and accelerate economic growth by making
additional funds available for investment.

Generally, the government does not impose "offset" requirements on
major procurements. There are no government imposed conditions to
invest.

A.6 Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Private ownership and entrepreneurship are respected in Estonia.
In most fields of business, participation by foreign companies or
individuals is unrestricted. As provided for by the Law on Foreign
Investments, foreign investors have the same rights and obligations
as Estonian citizens. Foreign investors may purchase buildings and
land for production purposes and establish, buy, and fully own
companies.

Government approval is required for foreign investment and
participation in only a handful of sectors (see section A.1).

Competitive equality is the official standard applied to private
enterprises in competition with public enterprises. Private
companies do not face discrimination in relation to state-owned
companies.

A.7 Protection of Property Rights

Secured interests in property are recognized and enforced.
Mortgages are quite common for both residential and commercial
property and leasing as a means of financing is widespread and
efficient.

The legal system protects and facilitates acquisition and
disposition of all property rights, including land, buildings, and
mortgages. The long and complicated process of property
restitution (begun when the Principles of Ownership Reform Act came
into force June 20, 1991) is almost complete, including the area of
non-residential real properties.

The Estonian legal system adequately protects property rights,
including intellectual property, patents, copyrights, trademarks,
trade secrets and industrial design. Estonia adheres to the Berne
Convention, WIPO and TRIPS, the Rome Convention and the Geneva
Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Producers. Estonian
legislation fully complies with EU directives granting protection
to authors, performing artists, record producers, and broadcasting
organizations.

Protecting Your Intellectual Property in Estonia

Several general principles are important for effective management
of intellectual property ("IP") rights in Estonia. First, it is
important to have an overall strategy to protect your IP. Second,
IP is protected differently in Estonia than in the U.S. Third,
rights, except for copyright, must be registered and enforced in
Estonia under local laws. In Estonia, equal protection of
copyright is provided via international conventions and treaties to
foreign and Estonian authors. Your U.S. trademark and patent
registrations will not protect you in Estonia. Protection against
unauthorized use depends on Estonian normative regulations that
adhere to international laws and directives of the European Union.

Registration of patents and trademarks is on a first-in-time,
first-in-right basis, so you should consider applying for trademark
and patent protection even before selling your products or services
in the Estonian market. It is vital that companies understand that

intellectual property is primarily a private right and that the
U.S. government generally cannot enforce rights for private
individuals in Estonia. It is the responsibility of the rights'
holders to register, protect, and enforce their rights where
relevant, retaining their own counsel and advisors. Companies may
wish to seek advice from local attorneys or IP consultants who are
experts in Estonian law. This list is available on the embassy
website: http://estonia.usembassy.gov/local_attorneys. html.

While the U.S. Government stands ready to assist, there is little
we can do if the rights' holders have not taken these fundamental
steps necessary to secure and enforce their IP in a timely fashion.
Moreover, in many countries, rights holders who delay enforcing
their rights under the misconception that the USG can provide a
political resolution to a legal problem may find that their rights
have been eroded or abrogated due to legal doctrines such as
statutes of limitations, laches, estoppel, or unreasonable delay in
prosecuting a law suit. In no instance should U.S. Government
advice be seen as a substitute for the obligation of a rights'
holder to promptly pursue its case.

It is always advisable to conduct due diligence on potential
partners. Negotiate from the position of your partner and give
your partner clear incentives to honor the contract. A good
partner is an important ally in protecting IP rights. Consider
carefully, however, whether to permit your partner to register your
IP rights on your behalf. Doing so may create a risk that your
partner will list itself as the IP owner and fail to transfer the
rights should the partnership end. Keep an eye on your cost
structure and reduce the margins (and the incentive) of would-be
bad actors. Projects and sales in Estonia require constant
attention. Work with legal counsel familiar with Estonian laws to
create a solid contract that includes non-compete clauses and
confidentiality/non-disclosure provisions.

It is also recommended that small and medium-size companies
understand the importance of working together with trade
associations and organizations to support efforts to protect IP and
stop counterfeiting.

IP Resources

A wealth of information on protecting IP is freely available to
U.S. rights holders. Some excellent resources for companies
regarding intellectual property include the following:

--For information about patent, trademark, or copyright issues
-including enforcement issues in the U.S. and other countries -
call the STOP! Hotline: 1-866-999-HALT or register at
www.StopFakes.gov.

--For more information about registering trademarks and patents
(both in the U.S. as well as in foreign countries), contact the US
Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at: 1-800-786-9199.

--For more information about registering for copyright protection
in the U.S., contact the U.S. Copyright Office at: 1-202-707-5959.

--Estonian Patent Office: http://www.epa.ee/

--Estonian Organization for Copyright Protection:
http://www.eako.ee

--Estonian Association of the Phonogram Producers:
http://www.efy.ee

A.8 Transparency of the Regulatory System

The Government of Estonia has set transparent policies and
effective laws to foster competition and establish "clear rules of
the game." However, due to the small size of Estonia's commercial
community, instances of favoritism are not uncommon despite
regulations and procedures designed to limit them.

Tax, labor, health and safety laws and policies have been crafted
to encourage investment. They appear to have been successful,
given the relatively high level of foreign direct investment per
capita.

All proposed laws and regulations are published for public comment
on the website: http://eoigus.just.ee/.

Also, the public can comment on draft laws and propose changes to
the government regulations at: www.osale.ee.

Estonia's bureaucratic procedures are generally far more
streamlined and transparent than those of other countries in the
region and are among the most streamlined and transparent in the
EU.

International institutions and organizations give Estonia's
economic policies high marks. The U.S.-based Wall Street
Journal/Heritage Foundation's 2009 Index of Economic Freedom ranked
Estonia 13th in the world. The index is a composite of scores in
monetary policy, banking and finance, black markets, wages and
prices. Estonia scores highly on this scale for investment freedom,
fiscal freedom, financial freedom, property rights, business
freedom, and monetary freedom.

A.9 Efficient Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Estonia's financial sector is modern and efficient. Government and
Central Bank policies facilitate the free flow of financial
resources, thereby supporting the flow of resources in the product
and factor markets. Credit is allocated on market terms and
foreign investors are able to obtain credit on the local market.
The private sector has access to an expanding range of credit
instruments similar in variety to those offered by banks in
Estonia's Nordic neighbors Finland and Sweden.

Legal, regulatory, and accounting systems are transparent and
consistent with international norms.

The Security Market Law complies with EU requirements and enables
EU securities brokerage firms to deal in the market without
establishing a local subsidiary. The NASDAQ OMX stock exchanges in
Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius form the Baltic Market, which facilitates
cross-border trading and attracting more investments to the region.
This includes sharing the same trading system and harmonizing rules
and market practices, all with the aim of reducing the costs of
cross-border trading in the Baltic region.

Estonia's banking system has consolidated rapidly. Total assets of
the commercial banks were approximately USD 30 billion at the end
of 2009. Two Swedish-owned banks (Swedbank and SEB) control over
70 percent of the market. More information is available at:

http://www.pangaliit.ee/eng/Info/.

The Scandinavian-owned Estonian banking system is modern and
efficient, encompassing the strongest and best-regulated banks in
the region. These provide both domestic and international services
(including internet and telephone banking) at very competitive
rates. Both local and international firms provide a full range of
financial, insurance, accounting, and legal services. Estonia has
a highly advanced internet banking system: more than 87 percent of
internet users make their everyday transactions via internet
banking. In Estonia over 71 percent of the population between the
ages of 16-74 uses the internet.

The Central Bank and the government hold no shares in the banking
sector.

In 2001, the Estonian government created a consolidated Financial
Supervisory Authority (FSA) under the auspices of the Central Bank.
The FSA conducts financial supervision independently on behalf of
the state and has a separate budget. The FSA was established to
enhance the stability, reliability, transparency, and efficiency of
the financial sector, to reduce system risks, and to prevent the
use of the financial sector for criminal purposes.

Takeovers in Estonia are regulated by the EU Takeover Directive
2004/25/EC. More information is available at:
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriSer v.do?uri=CELEX:32004L0
025:EN:HTML.

A.10 Competition from State Owned Enterprises

Only a small number of enterprises -- the country's main port, the
power plants, the postal system, railway and the national lottery
-- are state-owned (SOEs). Public enterprises operate on the same
legal bases as private enterprises without any advantages.

Each of the SOEs' management reports to an independent supervisory
board consisting of government officials, politically-affiliated
individuals and also prominent members of the business community.

There are several sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) in Estonia. They
have similar corporate governance to SOEs.

Both SOEs and SWFs are required to publish their annual reports
(usually available on the internet also in English) and submit
their books for independent audit.

A.11 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

The majority of OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are
incorporated into Estonian legislation. 2005 saw the start of a
non-profit organization, Responsible Business Forum in Estonia,
with an aim of furthering CSR in Estonian society. Responsible
Business Forum in Estonia is a partner in the CSR360 Global Partner
Network. CSR360 (www.csr360gpn.org) is a network of independent
organizations, who work as the interface of business and society to
mobilize business for good.

In 2008, the Tallinn City Council began its Responsible Business
Award competition to recognize entrepreneurs' social and
environmental innovation and entrepreneurship.

A.12 Political Violence

Civil unrest generally is not a problem in Estonia and there have
been no incidents of terrorism. Large public gatherings and
demonstrations may occur on occasion in response to political
issues, but these have proceeded, with few exceptions, without
incident in the past.

A.13 Corruption

Estonia has laws, regulations, and penalties to combat corruption
and, while corruption is not unknown, it has generally not been a
major problem faced by foreign investors. However, foreign
companies have found it difficult to become part of the local
commercial community because many Estonian executives have known
one another since childhood and often help one another out in ways
that make it difficult for outsiders to compete effectively.

Both offering and taking bribes are criminal offenses which can
bring imprisonment of up to five years. While "payments" that
exceed the services rendered are not unknown, and "conflict of
interest" is not a well-understood issue, surveys of American and
other non-Estonian businesses have shown the issues of corruption
and/or protection rackets are not a major concern for these
companies. In 2009 Transparency International (TI) ranked Estonia
27th out of 180 countries on its Corruption Perceptions Index. The
Estonian Ministry of Justice invited TI to take a lead role in the
drafting of the country's new anti-corruption strategy

In 2004, the GOE instituted the "Honest State" program, an
anti-corruption platform which included specific policies to reduce
the risk of corruption in government. These included auditing
local governments (widely seen as the greatest source of corruption
in Estonia), requiring public servants to file electronic
declarations of their economic interests, setting up a National
Ethics Council, increasing the number of specialized investigators
and prosecutors who focus on corruption, and setting up an
anonymous hotline for people to report corruption cases. The
principles of the "Honest State" program continue to be an embedded
part of GOE best practices.

The Security Police Board has shown its capacity to deal with
corruption offences and criminal misconduct, leading to the
conviction of several high-ranking state officials. Estonia
co-operates in fighting corruption at the international level and
is a member of GRECO (Group of States Against Corruption). Many
European countries are parties to either the Council of Europe
(CoE) Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, the Civil Law
Convention, or both. The Criminal Law Convention requires
criminalization of a wide range of national and transnational
conduct, including bribery, money-laundering, and account offenses.
It also incorporates provisions on liability of legal persons and
witness protection. The Civil Law Convention includes provisions
on compensation for damage relating to corrupt acts, whistleblower
protection, and validity of contracts, inter alia. GRECO was
established in 1999 by the CoE to monitor compliance with these and
related anti-corruption standards. Currently, GRECO comprises 46
member states (45 European countries and the United States). As of
December 2009, the Criminal Law Convention had 42 parties and the
Civil Law Convention had 34 (see www.coe.int/greco.


)

Estonia began as a full participant in the OECD Working Group on
Bribery in International Business Transactions (the Working Group)
in June 2004, and deposited its instruments of accession on
November 23, 2004. The Convention entered into force in Estonia on
January 22, 2005. The Convention obligates the Parties to
criminalize bribery of foreign public officials in the conduct of
international business. The United States meets its international
obligations under the OECD Anti-bribery Convention through the U.S.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

It is important for U.S. companies, irrespective of their size, to
assess the business climate in the relevant market in which they
will be operating or investing, and to have an effective compliance
program or measures to prevent and detect corruption, including
foreign bribery. U.S. individuals and firms operating or investing
in foreign markets should take the time to become familiar with the
relevant anticorruption laws of both the foreign country and the
United States in order to properly comply with them, and where
appropriate, they should seek the advice of legal counsel.

U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: In 1977, the United States
enacted the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which makes it
unlawful for a U.S. person, and certain foreign issuers of
securities, to make a corrupt payment to foreign public officials
for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business for or with, or
directing business to, any person. The FCPA also applies to
foreign firms and persons who take any act in furtherance of such a
corrupt payment while in the United States. For more detailed
information on the FCPA, see the FCPA Lay-Person's Guide at:
http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/docs/do jdocb.html.

UN Convention: The UN Anticorruption Convention entered into force
on December 14, 2005, and there are 143 parties to it as of
December 2009 (see
http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/si gnatories.html). The
UN Convention requires countries to establish criminal and other
offences to cover a wide range of acts of corruption. The UN
Convention goes beyond previous anticorruption instruments,
covering a broad range of issues ranging from basic forms of
corruption such as bribery and solicitation, embezzlement and
trading in influence, to the concealment and laundering of the
proceeds of corruption.

Estonia's signing of the UN Anticorruption Convention is currently
on the Estonian Parliament agenda and has passed the first reading.

Local Laws: U.S. firms should familiarize themselves with local
anticorruption laws, and, where appropriate, seek legal counsel.
While the U.S. Department of State cannot provide legal advice on
local laws, the embassies can provide assistance with navigating
the host country's legal system and obtaining a list of local legal
counsel. The embassy can also provide services that may assist
U.S. companies in conducting their due diligence as part of the
company's overarching compliance program when choosing business
partners or agents overseas. For more information, go to:
http://estonia.usembassy.gov/polecon/companie s/us-companies.html.

The Departments of Commerce and State provide worldwide support for
qualified U.S. companies bidding on foreign government contracts
through the Commerce Department's Advocacy Center and State's
Office of Commercial and Business Affairs. Problems, including
alleged corruption by foreign governments or competitors,
encountered by U.S. companies in seeking such foreign business
opportunities can be brought to the attention of appropriate U.S.

government officials, including local embassy personnel and through
the Department of Commerce Trade Compliance Center "Report A Trade
Barrier" website at: tcc.export.gov/Report_a_Barrier/index.asp.

Anti-Corruption Resources

Some useful resources for individuals and companies regarding
combating corruption in global markets include the following:

--Information about the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA),
including a "Lay-Person's Guide to the FCPA" is available at the
U.S. Department of Justice's website at:
http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.

--General information about anticorruption initiatives, such as the
OECD Convention and the FCPA, including translations of the statute
into several languages, is available at the Department of Commerce
Office of the Chief Counsel for International Commerce website:
http://www.ogc.doc.gov/trans_anti_bribery.htm l.

A.14 Bilateral Investment Agreements

Estonia has investment promotion and protection agreements with the
Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union, China, Czech Republic, Denmark,
Finland, Greece, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands,
Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, UK and
the United States. A Bilateral Taxation Treaty with the U.S. came
into force on January 1, 2000.

A.15 OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs

Estonia is a member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee
Agency.

Estonia joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism II on June 28, 2004.
The Estonian kroon is fixed against the euro at 1 EUR = 15.65 EEK.
The Estonian banking and financial sector are judged generally
stable, though they have endured stresses during the global credit
crisis which began in 2008.

Estonia is working diligently to meet all the Maastricht criteria
by spring 2010 in order to be invited to join the euro-zone on
January 1, 2011. There are no indications that the proposed
exchange rate of the Estonian kroon to euro would differ from the
current fixed rate.

A.16 Labor

Estonia has a very small population - only 1.34 million people.
The average monthly Estonian salary at the end of 2009 was about
USD 1,100. The world economic crisis and contracting domestic
economy have also brought a decrease in salaries (about -4.5
percent in 2009) and an increase in unemployment (2009 estimate
around 15 percent).

The influence of trade unions, which tend to take a cooperative
approach to industrial relations, is increasing. Estonia adheres
to ILO Conventions protecting workers' rights.

With an aging population and a negative birth rate, Estonia, like
many other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, faces serious
demographic challenges affecting its long term supply of labor.
Improving labor efficiency is a key focus for Estonia in the
short-to-mid term.

A.17 Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports

According to the Customs Act, free zones can be established on the
customs territory by order of the government. Goods in a free zone
are considered as being outside the customs territory, for the
purposes of import and export duties. As a rule, customs
procedures are not applied to goods in a free zone. In free zones,
VAT and excise duties (as well as possible fees for customs
services) do not have to be paid on goods brought in for later
re-export.

In Estonia, there are free zones at the Muuga port (near Tallinn),
the Sillamae port (northeast Estonia), and in Valga (southern
Estonia). All free zones are open for FDI.

The main supervisory authority responsible for monitoring the
movement of goods in or out of free zones is the Estonian Tax and
Customs Board (governed by the Ministry of Finance). There are ID
requirements for companies and individuals using the zone. The
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Coast Guard) has inspected
Estonia's ports and determined that the Republic of Estonia has
substantially implemented the International Ship and Port Facility
Security (ISPS) Code at all facilities visited.

A.18 Foreign Direct Investment Statistics

According to the Bank of Estonia (see the link below), by the end
of Q3 2009, the cumulative stock of FDI amounted to USD 15.6
billion. Roughly 30 percent of FDI has been invested into
financial intermediation and the same amount in real estate,
renting and business activities. Manufacturing is in third place
with 15.5 percent of total FDI. Wholesale and retail trade has
attracted 11.4 percent of the foreign direct investment stock.

Scandinavian countries are the largest foreign direct investors in
Estonia. Sweden has 37 percent of the total, followed by Finland
with 25 percent, and the Netherlands with 9 percent. The United
States accounts for 1.7 percent of foreign direct investment stock
(10th overall). The inward FDI stock in Estonia is about 78
percent of GDP.

In Q3 2009, Estonian DI abroad was about 73 billion EEK, which is
about 7 billion USD.

For the value of inward and outward FDI (position, stock, and flows
in recent years by the commodity group, as well as country of
origin) please go to:

http://www.eestipank.info/pub/en/dokumendid/s tatistika/maksebilanss
/statistika/statistika.html?objId=292616.

The ten largest FDI companies in Estonia in terms of total
investment and influence on the Estonian economy are:

SEB Pank AS

Foreign Shareholder: SEB AB

Country of origin: Sweden

Sector of operation: banking

Swedbank AS

Foreign Shareholder: Swedbank

Country of origin: Sweden

Sector of operation: banking

Eesti Telekom AS

Foreign Shareholder: TeliaSonera AB

Country of origin: Sweden

Sector of operation: telecommunications

ABB AS

Foreign Shareholder: The ABB Group

Country of origin: Switzerland

Sector of operation: power and automation technologies

Ericsson Eesti AS

Foreign Shareholder: Ericsson

Country of origin: Sweden

Sector of operation: telecommunications equipment

Skype Technologies OU

Foreign Shareholder: Skype Technologies S.A.

Country of origin: Luxembourg

Sector of operation: telecommunication

Stockmann AS

Foreign Shareholder: Stockmann

Country of origin: Finland

Sector of operation: retail

Genovique Specialties AS

Foreign Shareholder: Genovique Specialties Holdings

Country of origin: USA

Sector of operation: chemicals

Balti Spoon AS

Foreign Shareholder: Mohring Group of Companies,

Country of origin: USA

Sector of operation: veneer

Estonian Cell AS

Foreign Shareholder: Heinzel Group

Country of origin: Austria

Sector of operation: pulp mill
POLT

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IPPPR: The Independent Panel Calls For Urgent Reform Of Pandemic Prevention And Response Systems

Expert independent panel calls for urgent reform of pandemic prevention and response systems The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is today calling on the global community to end the COVID-19 pandemic and adopt a series of bold and ... More>>

NGO Coalition On Human Rights: Call For A Stop To Police Brutality In Fiji

A viral video has circulated online showing two police officers utilising disproportionate and excessive force in detaining the suspect, an individual half their size. In the video it shows the man’s head being pressed down on the ground, his arms being ... More>>

UN: India’s New COVID-19 Wave Is Spreading Like ‘Wildfire’, Warns UN Children’s Fund

7 May 2021 A new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading like “wildfire” across India, leaving many youngsters destitute, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday. In the last 24 hours, India registered 3,915 coronavirus deaths and 414,188 ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Economic Recovery Under Threat Amid Surging COVID Cases And Lagging Vaccination In Poorer Countries

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Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>