Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – three Baltic States offering business opportunities
Estonia is a good partner for Finnish companies
Parliamentary elections were held in Estonia on 3 March 2019. The Reform Party gained most seats, but the Conservative People’s Party had the largest gain overall and increased their seats up to 19. The Estonian Centre Party, the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia, and Isamaa formed the government. Togetherness inside the government has increased, while the polarisation in domestic politics has grown. Despite turbulence the Government has maintained its majority in the Parliament, and has been able to deliver results.
The economy of Estonia is expanding by 3 per cent this year. The government has a new approach towards private/public partnership programs, to finance some key infrastructure projects. Many details are still unclear. Financial policy follows closely the former policies. Recently the pension reform has caused a lot of discussions. Salaries have increased by 6 – 8 per cent in Estonia. There is shortage of labour force, and there is an ongoing debate which may bring some new restrictions to the use of foreign labour. Despite of challenges and turbulent times the economic outlook is on a relatively stable track. Estonia remains a good partner for Finnish companies.
Cleantech, Rail Baltica and hospital projects as business opportunities in Latvia
Latvia got a new government in January 2019. Priorities of the government are: straightening our the financial sector, combating corruption and shadow economy, respect for the rule of law, territorial reforms, continuation of education reforms and improving healthcare sector.
It is estimated that Latvia’s economy will grow by 2.5 per cent in 2020. Main growth sectors are construction, ITC and tourism. Hospital modernization projects, Rail Baltica project and green economy (bioeconomy, circular economy, recycling) offer business opportunities for Finnish companies in Latvia.
There are about 370 Finnish companies in Latvia. More than 300 Finnish medical, dental and other students are living temporarily in Riga. 600 Finns live in Riga and 1,500 Latvians in Finland. Nearly 250,000 visits from Finland to Latvia take place every year.
Lithuania is a start-up and FinTech friendly country
Lithuania is the biggest of the Baltic States. Lithuania is a member of the EU, NATO, Council of Europe and OECD. Lithuania’s GDP has doubled since 2004. Farmers and Greens won in the elections in 2016 and formed the government with Social Democrats. Lithuania is going to have parliamentary elections next autumn. The new President was elected last summer.
Lithuania offers good infrastructure and tax incentives for companies. Lithuania has good connections to other countries. Salary level is competitive. Lithuania benefits from educated and priceworthy workforce, cost effectiveness (rent of premises) and situation in the middle of Europe. Lithuania is a start-up and FinTech friendly country.
Finnish-Estonian Trade Association, Finnish-Latvian Trade Association and Finnish-Lithuanian Trade Association organised in Helsinki on 28 January 2020 the event: Economic and political outlook of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Mr Timo Kantola, Ambassador of Finland in Estonia, Ms Riitta Korpivaara, Ambassador of Finland in Latvia and Mr Christer Michelsson, Ambassador of Finland in Lithuania addressed the audience.