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Head of Invest Estonia: War in Ukraine is not decreasing interest to invest

The more we say that the ongoing war in Ukraine will harm Estonia’s economy, the more probable it is that things will go that way, writes the Head of Invest Estonia, Joonas Vänto. In reality, the number of investment enquiries is similar to that of the period before the war – meaning a consistently high level of interest to invest in Estonia.

Opinions as if Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine would decrease how active the foreign investors in Estonia are, have recently been voiced, Joonas Vänto wrote in the opinion article originally published on ERR. In our job, we communicate with foreign investors daily – and we can see that our strengths, such as stable economic environment, simple taxation, Estonia being the world’s most advanced digital society and our noteworthy startup community, are as valuable for the foreign investors as ever before.

While the COVID-19 pandemic saw some of the potential investors being hesitant, we have seen clear signs of recovery during the past year. The amount of investments facilitated by Invest Estonia grew by a quarter and the number of jobs created doubled in 2021.

Several large investment decisions announced

After the beginning of the war, there have been several foreign enterprises that have announced their expansion, including Nordea and one of the biggest IT companies of Finland, Solita. The international technology company Ensto is planning to expand considerably and will make additional investments in the next few years.

The delegations accompanying ministers during Invest Estonia’s outgoing business visits have recently brought back only positive messages. For example, a large international developer of sea wind parks has declared clear interest in taking part of the tender to build sea wind parks here, as soon as planning Estonia’s sea area reaches the appropriate stage.

Sea wind parks have the potential to end energy dependency, decrease the price of electricity and help us closer to a truly green economy. The development of renewable energy by foreign investors will keep the costs for the taxpayer down, as otherwise this would have to be done by the state.

Opportunities bring new opportunities

Where there already are opportunities, more opportunities will emerge – and where the opportunities do not yet exist, they need to be created. From strong, strategic foreign investors, local companies can win a lot – in cooperation, value chains can be made longer, and more value added in Estonia.

Continuing with wind energy, Estonian companies have the potential to produce blades and other details for the wind turbines. At the same time, NPM Silmet, located in Sillamäe, has the potential to process rare earth metals, needed in the wind turbines and – for example – electric cars.

What is important, is confidence

Estonia’s image is important when talking about foreign investments – and this far, we have been successful in both, country promotion and attracting foreign investment. This is where every business union, every company, every citizen has a role.

What is important, is confidence. We do not only have to say that Estonia is protected by NATO – Estonia is also protecting NATO. Our Defence Forces, as well as our Defence League are a part of a large, allied force – and Estonia’s contribution, taking into account its size, is remarkable. In addition, Finland and Sweden joining the NATO will further improve the security situation.

In addition to the economic benefits, the presence of international companies in the region – and them being an integral part of the business community and economy – will further contribute to Estonia’s security.

The article was originally published on the Estonian Public Broadcasting’s website. It has been translated and adapted for publication on Invest Estonia.

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