Elcoteq has been one of the top exporters in Estonia over the past few years, and was the single largest exporter in 2000. In the first nine months of 2000, Elcoteq exports totaled 9.8 billion kroons (US$580 million), out of total exports of 37.8 billion kroons in that period (RFE/RL Baltic States Report, February 12) Elcoteq’s exports therefore played a key role in helping Estonia’s exports rise 46 percent last year. Exports to Finland accounted for 25 percent of total exports (BNS, January 30). A week before the Ericsson announcement, the Estonian Export Agency had predicted 12 percent export growth in 2001, mostly fuelled by Elcoteq’s projected increase in sales (RFE/RL Baltic States Report, February 12).
In addition to helping keep the current account deficit at a reasonable level, booming exports also drove industrial output, which was reported up 9 percent last year (Estonian Statistics 2000, #108). The twelve companies in the industrial branch that manufactures radio, television and communications equipment recorded 53 percent output growth. But despite Elcoteq’s importance to Estonian exports, the factory is less important in the country’s output. Fortunately for Estonia, the branch producing radio, television and communications equipment accounts for just 2 percent of total industrial output. While developments at Elcoteq may slow export growth this year, Estonia’s economy as a whole is unlikely suffer unduly. The flexibility Estonia showed in recovering quickly from the loss of the Russian market in 1998-99 will serve it well in current circumstances; the country remains a low-cost alternative for high-tech Scandinavian companies.http://www.jamestown.org
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