In 2016, contacts were established with many professional associations, and communication with regional institutions and business organisations increased. The embassy has, in cooperation with local unions and organisations, arranged events to introduce Estonia. During the past few years, multiple business seminars and trips have taken place to enliven economic relations between the two countries. Estonia’s participation in the Milan EXPO 2015 presented an excellent opportunity to strengthen economic ties.
For the past years, Italy has been Estonia’s 14th to 15th trading partner and trade with Italy has made up around 1,8% of Estonia’s total trade. Estonian exports to Italy have gradually decreased and currently stand for less than 1% of the country’s total exports. Imports from Italy have grown slightly.
Estonia-Italy trade 2006-2016 (in millions EUR):
All economic figures originate from the Statistics Estonia
Machines and equipment are the main items of both export and import. In the case of export, these are mainly phones, electronic components, electric motors and generators and transformers as well as sound and visual signal devices. Other notable exports include paper pulp and cardboard, firewood, solid fuels, densified wood, veneer and profiled wood in addition to cheese and fish products, printed circuit boards and wooden houses.
From Italy, Estonia imports workbenches, taps and pumps, aluminium wire, pipe junctions and hollow sections and naturally the products of Italian clothing manufacturers.
Estonia’s main export articles in to Italy 2014:
Estonia’s main import articles to Italy in 2014:
According to the Bank of Estonia, as of 30.06.2016, 0.6% of Estonia’s foreign direct investment came from Italy in the total amount of 112.7 million euros. Most of the investments were directed to professional, scientific and technical activities (41%), real estate (25%) and finance and insurance activities (10%).
As of 13.04.2016, 340 Estonian enterprises with Italian co-ownership were registered in the Estonian Business Register.
Estonia’s foreign direct investments in Italy amounted to 101.5 million euros as of the same date, which represented 1,8% of all total investments in foreign countries. The main sectors were: the manufacturing industry, wholesale and retail trade activities,hospitality and catering, real estate and professional, scientific and technical activities.
Estonia’s accession to the European Union in 2004 provided a strong impetus for the increase of tourism – the number of Italian tourists accommodated in Estonia in that year grew by 95% and in 2005 by 100% (over 26,700) compared to previous years. A new growth in the number of Spanish tourists came in 2011, when Tallinn was the European Capital of Culture. The number of accommodated tourists in that year was 33,618. In 2012, 30,574 Italian tourists were accommodated in Estonia, in 2013 that number was 26 506 and in 2014 26 968. In addition to Tallinn, tourists from Italy were also particularly interested in the counties of Tartumaa and Pärnumaa.
Estonia is known as a pleasant destination as it has been presented in Italian media on multiple occasions. Tallinn is also an important port for cruise ships on the Baltic Sea. More flights between Tallinn Lennart Meri Airport and Italy would certainly help improve tourism opportunities.
In 2015, 68,745 Italian tourists were accommodated in Estonia, in 2016 that number was 70 874. In addition to Tallinn, tourists from Italy were also particularly interested in the counties of Tartumaa and Pärnumaa.