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Many Estonian Companies Continue Doing Business With Russia

While many firms in Estonia have severed Russia business ties, others continue to buy and sell goods and services worth dozens of millions of euros monthly.

Estonian exports to Russia were worth €50-70 million per month before the war. The ballpark remains the same today, which is explained partly by inflation and partly by the goods originating elsewhere in Europe, said Külli Kurvits, head of customs formalities for the Estonian Tax and Customs Board.

“Around 75 percent or more of goods volume we see on our border is from other Member States,” she explained.

Monthly exports of goods of Estonian origin came to €31 million before the war. That figure had dropped to €9 million by June. “Looking at Estonian companies’ haulage to and from Russia, export volume is down to about 20 percent and important to around 7 percent of the pre-war situation.”

Around 500-600 Estonian companies are involved in Russia goods trade, while this does not include services. Estonian companies sold around €300 million worth of services to Russia in 2022. Transport and travel services made up almost 90 percent. Jane Leppmets, analyst at Statistics Estonia, said that services export is also in decline.

“Export of services from Estonia to Russia has fallen from €99 million in the first quarter of last year to €47 million in Q1 or 2023,” Leppmets said.

Heads of companies refused to be named for the purposes of the article but provided explanations off the record. For example, the management boards of listed companies or Estonian branches of international corporations cannot make unilateral decisions that result in losses.

Another business owner said that 80 percent of their business is exporting food products to Russia, and that shutting it down overnight would cost dozens of people their jobs and a major loss for the company.

Source: ERR News

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