Since 2014, the economic relations and trade between Estonia and Russia have been affected by the economic sanctions that were imposed against Russia by the EU, and by the counter-sanctions enforced by Russia. Russia continues to be an important economic partner for Estonia, but the Russian economic state and economic sanctions have set limitations to trade. In the recent years, Russia has fallen from its usual spot on the top five list of Estonia’s trade partners
Trade between Estonia and Russia amounted to more than 10% in 2011 but since 2012, turnover started to decrease gradually and in 2016 amounted to 6% of the total turnover. From the position of a third biggest trading partner in 2012, Russia has fallen to the sixth position in 2016. Estonian export to Russia started to decrease in 2013, when the export volume was €1.4 billion. By 2016, the volume had decreased to €0.8 billion. However, based on the data from 2016, export increased by 0.2% compared to 2015. Reduction of imports started in 2012 and it has continued until today (with exception in 2014 when it grew more than 8%). From largest import partners, Russia has fallen from the sixth position (2012) to the eight.
Trade between Estonia and Russia in 2012-2017 (million euros)
Export and import in 2016
Export to Russia has decreased in virtually all commodity groups compared to 2012/2013. From main export articles, export of animal products, machinery and equipment, chemical products and prepared foodstuffs and beverages dropped the most. Main export articles to Russia in 2016 were machinery and equipment (36% of the export), chemical products (16%), prepared foodstuffs and beverages (11%) and textile products (6%).
Main products imported from Russia are mineral products (ca 50% of the import), timber and timber products (16-17%) and basic metals and fabricated metal products (11%).
Russian direct investments to Estonia made up 0.7 billion euros at september 2016, which places Russia on a fifth position in the ranking (3.9% of all direct investments to Estonia). The largest amounts of Russian direct investments went into the following sectors: real estate 39%, wholesale and retail 33%, financial and insurance activities 11%.
According to the Estonian Business Register, at April 2016 there were around 3000 commercial enterprises with Russian participation registered in Estonia.
Estonia’s direct investments to Russia at the same time constituted €242 million, which made Russia the seventh target country for direct investments (4% of Estonia’s direct investments abroad). Investments to Russian manufacturing industry 21%, financial and insurance activities 15%, wholesale and retail 14%, made up the largest shares of Estonian direct investments to Russia.
Estonia remains a popular destination for Russian tourists. In 2016, more than 200,000 Russian tourists stayed in Estonian tourist accommodation establishments. After a sharp decrease in 2015, the amount of Russian tourists rose by 8% in 2016 and the nights stayed by 5%. Overnight stays increased most in Tallinn and Ida-Virumaa, followed by Tartumaa, Pärnumaa and Lääne-Virumaa. In 2016, Russian tourists formed 9.8% of all foreign tourists.