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Country Forecast Estonia 3rd Quarter 2018

Country Forecast Estonia 3rd Quarter 2018

  • July 2018
  • ID: 5144822
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

Summary

Table of Contents


Policy towards private enterprise and competition


2018-19: Government maintains a relatively liberal stance on private enterprise. The bureaucratic burden is modest. Plans have been proposed to divest stakes in state-owned rail, road and energy companies. The partial privatisation of the Port of Tallinn was completed in June 2018.


2020-22: Concerns about Russian influence will ensure the state's continued presence in strategic sectors such as energy.


Policy towards foreign investment


2018-19: Policy remains highly receptive to inflows of foreign investment in high-value sectors, but there is some hostility towards Russian investors. Ongoing development of e-residency programme will encourage growth of digital sector and could spur post-Brexit inflows from the UK.


2020-22: The focus of government policy shifts to more technologically sophisticated investment projects.


Foreign trade and exchange controls


2018-19: Foreign trade policy is largely determined at the EU level. There is an ongoing gradual shift towards exports of higher value goods and services. Strained EU-Russia relations, and US-sparked global trade tensions are likely to weigh on some export sectors.


2020-22: Foreign trade and exchange restrictions remain minimal. Ongoing EU efforts to promote bilateral trade deals.


Taxes


2018-19: Large rise in personal tax-free allowance for lower-income earners in 2018, introducing a slightly more progressive element in the income tax system. Higher indirect taxes (mostly excise duties). Corporation tax cut to 14% for some firms.


2020-22: Higher indirect taxes. Further modest measures to reduce a fairly high labour tax burden. Corporate tax regime to remain attractive.


Financing


2018-19: Robust credit demand from households. Well-capitalised banking sector to remain resilient owing to improvements in banking regulation. Planned development of a pan-Baltic capital market to boost equity investment. Gradual expansion of private equity and venture capital funding via EstFund and Baltic Innovation Fund.


2020-22: Steady growth of alternative financing channels. Modest risk of parent-bank funding constraints could emerge in case of a Nordic downturn.


The labour market


2018-19: Policy will continue to focus on strengthening work incentives (especially for older and female workers) and reducing the labour tax burden to mitigate labour constraints. Reforms to address a large gender pay gap.


2020-22: Business concerns will endure over skills mismatches, labour shortages and wage pressures in some sectors.


Infrastructure


2018-19: Investment in physical infrastructure heavily reliant on EU structural funds. Ongoing projects to lower energy dependence on Russian gas and boost energy security via improved connectivity with other Baltic states and the EU.


2020-22: Work continues on Rail Baltica project to improve crossborder transport links. Rural broadband coverage improves.


Technological readiness


2018-19: Efforts to strengthen innovation capacity. Continued high-quality e-government services. Focus on the e-residency program to expand business investment, and exploration of possibilities to issue crypto tokens under the programme.


2020-22: Use of block chain technology in e-governance, cyber security, data embassies and business is expanded.



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