Products meant for Russian market can be sold in Estonia

Russian-bound food turned back at the border can be sold in Estonia if special permission has been granted by the Veterinary and Food Board and the sale outlet is furnished with Estonian-language information, the agency’s director said. To this point no company has pursued this option.

“It is allowed in exceptional cases to market food packaged for the Russian market in Estonia, if a company needs to do so,” said Ago Pärtel, the director general of the Veterinary and Food Board, on ERR radio.

Meanwhile, Pärtel said, the agency has been sending out letters to far-flung markets to inquire about import requirements for milk products. The countries included Indonesia, Taiwan, Kenya and Tanzania.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev announced on August 7 that Russia would slap a one-year ban on all EU, US, Australian, Canadian and Norwegian meat, dairy and produce. In particular, the Estonian dairy and fishery sector could be heavily impacted.

Source: ERR News

Governemnt pledges to seek new export markets

With the Agriculture Ministry saying the EU is unlikely to decide support for sectors hit by Russian sanctions before September, Estonian officials and producers focused today on what the national government can do. The focus will lie on finding new markets and working with banks to secure more favorable terms for dairy farm investors.

Agriculture Minister Ivari Padar and Foreign Trade Anne Sulling said after meetings with lobby groups today that the sanctions were a political conflict between the EU and Russia and a united front would have to be agreed on the EU ministerial level. A meeting is due to take place in Brussels on Wednesday.

But domestic efforts will also be at center stage for now, with ministries pledging to work with banks to institute grace periods for dary farm investors and possibly to roll out more export subsidies in the 2015 state budget, Padar and Sulling said.

Farmers and milk producers said going into the meeting that they expect decisive action, including more direct subsidies and government intervention on milk prices.

Read more from ERR News

The decrease in trade decelerated

According to Statistics Estonia, in June 2014, exports of goods increased by 1% and imports decreased by 1% at current prices compared to June of the previous year. In the first half-year of this year, the decrease in exports and imports was mostly influenced by a fall in the trade of electrical equipment and transport equipment.

In June, exports from Estonia amounted to nearly 1 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.1 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 156 million euros and it decreased by 19 million euros compared to June 2013.

The biggest share of Estonia’s exports was held by electrical equipment (22% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by mineral products (12%) and wood and products thereof (10%). Compared to the same time of the previous year, export growth was significantly influenced by an increase in the exports of mineral products (up by 19 million euros), electrical equipment (up by 9 million euros) and wood and products thereof (up by 8 million euros). At the same time, there was a decrease in the exports of the raw materials and products of the chemical industry.

In June, the main commodities imported were electrical equipment (a fifth of Estonia’s total imports), mineral products (13%) and agricultural products and food preparations (11%). Compared to June 2013, the biggest decrease occurred in the imports of transport equipment and mechanical appliances (down by 26 and 16 million euros, respectively). At the same time, the imports of electrical equipment increased by 10 million euros.

The top destination country of Estonia’s exports in June was Sweden (18% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by Finland (16%) and Latvia (11%). The biggest increase occurred in exports to the USA (up by 13 million euros) and Finland (up by 12 million euros). Exports to the USA increased the most of mineral products and of electrical equipment, but to Finland of electrical equipment and metals and products thereof. There was a significant decline in exports to Russia (down by 15 million euros). Exports to Russia decreased due to reduced exports of agricultural products and food preparations (incl. cheese, pork, spirits), and textiles and products thereof.

The main countries of consignment in June were Finland (15% of Estonia’s total imports), Germany (11%) and Sweden (11%). Compared to June of the previous year, there was a significant decrease in imports from Poland (down by 24 million euros) and Lithuania (down by 13 million euros). There were decreased imports of transport equipment (incl. rolling stock) from Poland, and decreased imports of mineral products (incl. motor spirits) from Lithuania. Imports from Russia increased the most (up by 24 million euros), due to bigger imports of mineral products (incl. heavy oil).

In the first half-year, exports decreased by 6% and imports by 4% compared to the same period of the previous year. So, in this comparison, the decrease of both exports and imports was mostly influenced by electrical equipment and transport equipment (incl. ships and railway wagons).

In the first half-year, exports also decreased for jewellery and raw materials and products of the chemical industry. At the same time, there was an increase in the exports of miscellaneous manufactured articles (incl. furniture, prefabricated buildings), wood and products thereof, and spirits.

The decrease of imports in the first half-year was also influenced by a fall in the imports of the raw materials and products of the chemical industry, mechanical appliances and mineral products. At the same time, the imports of articles of plastics and rubber, textiles and products thereof, and spirits increased.

Read more from Statistics Estonia

PM: Exporters to Russia must have backup plan

Today, Russia released the detailed list of prohibited import goods, which establishes a blanket one-year ban on EU, US, Australian, Canadian and Norwegian meat, seafood, dairy products and produce. The Estonian head of government maintained that Russian consumers would suffer most, while Estonian agriculture as a whole would not be deeply impacted, but said Estonian export businesses should have have a plan B in place for the next year.

Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said at today’s Cabinet press conference that Estonian agriculture would suffer less than the business sector.

“It’s too early to say what the impact on Estonia will be, but of larger categories of goods, 24 percent of dairy exports go to Russia. Export to Russia makes up 5.5 percent in the case of meat products and close to 9 percent for vegetables.”

According to Postimees, Estonia’s total export to Russia in 2013 across all types of goods starts with 127.7 million euros in drinks and beverages to Russia, followed by 50.2 million euros in milk and dairy products, 15.0 million euros in fish products, 12.1 million euros in grain, starch and milk-containing products, and 11.5 million euros in other foodstuffs. Other categories, including non-food items, were at 5 million euros or less.

Read more from ERR News

Russia bans agricultural imports from west

Vladimir Putin has banned the import of agricultural goods from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia in a tit-for-tat move that deepens the economic standoff between the Kremlin and the west.

Russian government officials have been told to draw up a list of western agricultural products and raw materials that will be banned or restricted for up to one year, according to the decree published on the Kremlin website.

In tacit recognition that Russian consumers will bear the cost of the import ban, the decree also instructs officials to come up with measures to stabilise commodity markets and prevent food price rises.

The import ban follows a threat of retaliation from Russia’s prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, in response to the grounding of the budget airline subsidiary of Aeroflot as a result of EU sanctions. Russian officials are reported to be considering banning European airlines from flying to Asia over Siberia.

Read more from The Guardian

Russia bans Estonian dairy and fish products import

The Russian plant and animal health agency Rosselhoznadzor has removed import restrictions from a number of Estonian companies, with bans on five companies still in force.

Rosselhoznadzor lifted bans from four dairies and fishery companies in January and three more in March, allowing the companies to export to Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The temporary import restrictions were announced on December 25 on five dairy and six fish packing companies, and became effective January 9.

Two other restrictions slapped on companies in November also remained in place while a new ban, on fish producer TÜ Eesti Kutseliste Kalurite Ühistu, will take affect on July 15. Rosselhoznadzor said it needs to check the company’s produce in its laboratory.

Estonian fish products are traditionally popular in Russian markets and Russia has a heavy reliance on EU producers for food.

Source: ERR News

Viru Chemistry Group’s business influenced by fuel requirements

One of Estonia’s biggest exporters, VCG Oil, will expand its production volume this year, but due to changing fuel requirements for ships on the Baltic Sea, the prices might drop, leading the company to focus on other markets and search for opportunities to add value to it il products.

The Chairman of the Board of VCG, Priit Rohumaa, said VCG’s production quantities in 2014-15 will increase over 50 percent thanks to new factories. However, Rohumaa said the main use for their oil is ship fuel in the Baltic Sea region. But due the fact that in Estonia the current fuel standard is forcing ships to reduce the sulfur content in their oil.

Next year VCG must find another market or find other ways to use their oil.

“One option is to refine the same products into more expensive fuels with a lower carbon-content,” Rohumaa said. “These are very expensive investments, but these plans have lurked in the manufacturer’s mindsets for a while now.

“Another possibility is to focus on more distant markets, because the strict sulfur-restrictions are limited to the Baltic Sea and partly to the Canadian and American coastal waters, but the world’s oil market operates at higher sulfur contents until 2020. Therefore our markets will shift.”

Source: ERR News

In May foreign trade decreased

According to Statistics Estonia, in May 2014, exports of goods decreased by 9% and imports by 4% at current prices compared to May of the previous year. The decrease in exports and imports was mostly influenced by a fall in the trade of electrical equipment and mechanical appliances.

In May, exports from Estonia amounted to 1 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.1 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 138 million euros and it increased by 56 million euros compared to May 2013.

The biggest share in Estonia’s exports was held by electrical equipment (19% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by mineral products (10%), agricultural products and food preparations (10%) and wood and products thereof (10%). A significant decrease occurred in the exports of electrical equipment (down by 46 million euros) and mineral products (down by 15 million euros). At the same time, there was an increase in the exports of agricultural products and food preparations and miscellaneous manufactured articles (both up by 3%).

In May, the main commodities imported were electrical equipment (17% of Estonia’s total imports), mineral products (13%) and agricultural products and food preparations (11%). The biggest decrease occurred in the imports of electrical equipment and mechanical appliances (down by 28 and 26 million euros, respectively). At the same time, the imports of mineral products increased by 21 million euros.

The top destination country of Estonia’s exports was Finland (16% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by Sweden (16%) and Russia (11%). Electrical equipment and agricultural products and food preparations were the main commodities exported to Finland; electrical equipment and wood and products thereof were the main commodities exported to Sweden; and mechanical appliances and agricultural products and food preparations were the main commodities exported to Russia. The biggest decrease occurred in exports to Sweden (down by 38 million euros) due to decreased exports of electrical equipment. As for CIS countries, the decline was the biggest in exports to Russia (down by 27 million euros) and to Ukraine (down by 4 million euros). Exports to Russia decreased due to reduced exports of mechanical appliances (incl. shovels, excavators) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (incl. furniture). In case of Ukraine, exports of all products decreased by nearly a half. Exports to Belgium increased the most (up 21 million euros), mainly because of the increased exports of mineral products.

The main countries of consignment were Finland (15% of Estonia’s total imports), Germany (12%) and Sweden (12%). The main commodities imported were mineral products and electrical equipment (from Finland), transport equipment and mechanical appliances (from Germany) and electrical and transport equipment (from Sweden). There was a decrease in imports from the United Kingdom (down by 30 million euros) and Latvia (down by 18 million euros). There were decreased imports of mechanical appliances (incl. shovels, excavators) and miscellaneous manufactured articles (incl. furniture) from the United Kingdom, and decreased imports of mineral products (incl. motor spirits and electric energy) from Latvia. Imports from Russia increased the most (up by 24 million euros), due to bigger imports of mineral products (incl. heavy oil) and metals and products thereof (incl. flat-rolled products).

Read more from Statistics Estonia

In April foreign trade decreased

According to Statistics Estonia, in April 2014, exports of goods decreased by 5% and imports by 4% at current prices compared to April of the previous year. The decrease in exports was mostly influenced by a fall in the trade of electrical equipment.

In April, exports from Estonia amounted to 1 billion euros and imports to Estonia to 1.2 billion euros at current prices. The trade deficit was 143 million euros and it increased by 11 million euros compared to April 2013.

The biggest share in Estonia’s exports was held by electrical equipment (a fifth of Estonia’s total exports), followed by mineral products (11%), agricultural products and food preparations (10%) and wood and products thereof (10%). A significant decrease occurred in the exports of electrical equipment (down by 30 million euros) and raw materials and products of chemical industry (down by 21 million euros. At the same time, there was an increase in the exports of mineral products and metals and products thereof (both up by 7 million euros).

In April, the main commodities imported were electrical equipment (17% of Estonia’s total imports), mineral products (12%) and agricultural products and food preparations (12%). The biggest decrease occurred in the imports of mineral products (down by 21 million euros) and mechanical appliances (down by 17 million euros). At the same time, the imports of agricultural products and food preparations increased (up by 7 million euros).

The top destination country of Estonia’s exports was Sweden (18% of Estonia’s total exports), followed by Finland (16%) and Latvia (11%). Electrical equipment and wood and products thereof were the main commodities exported to Sweden; electrical equipment and agricultural products and food preparations were the main commodities exported to Finland; and mineral products and agricultural products and food preparations were the main commodities exported to Latvia. The biggest decrease occurred in exports to Lithuania (down by 18 million euros) and to Russia (down by 10 million euros). Exports to Lithuania decreased due to reduced exports of mineral products (incl. electric energy) and railway wagons. At the same time, exports to Belgium and Latvia increased due to bigger exports of mineral products.

The main countries of consignment were Finland (16% of Estonia’s total imports), Germany (11%) and Sweden (10%). The main commodities imported were mineral products and electrical equipment (from Finland), mechanical appliances and electrical equipment (from Germany) and electrical and transport equipment (from Sweden). There was a decrease in imports from Sweden (down by 20 million euros), Latvia (down by 16 million euros) and Russia (down by 9 million euros). There were decreased imports of electrical equipment (incl. electronics equipment) and measuring and checking instruments from Sweden, and decreased imports of mineral products (incl. motor spirits and electric energy) from Latvia. Imports from Finland increased the most (up by 16%), due to bigger imports of mineral products (incl. motor spirits and electric energy).

There was a decrease in exports to the CIS countries, with exports to Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine falling the most. There were decreased exports of mineral products (incl. lubricating oils) and medical instruments and apparatus to Russia; decreased exports of mechanical appliances (incl. shovels, excavators) and transport equipment (incl. tractors) to Kazakhstan; and decreased exports of raw materials and products of chemical industry (incl. fertilisers) and mechanical appliances (incl. domestic appliances) to Ukraine. There was a decrease in imports of mineral products (incl. natural gas and gas oils) from Russia and Belarus, and imports of railway wagons from Ukraine.

In April compared to March 2014, exports stayed on the same level and imports decreased 1%.

Read more from Statistics Estonia

Free trade and association agreement with Georgia and Moldova

The government approved the European Union’s free trade and association agreement with Georgia and Moldova today, having approved a similar pact with Ukraine earlier.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said the aim of the association agreement is to accelarate closer economic and political ties between the EU and Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. The agreement gives the countries gradual access to EU’s internal market, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

The aim of the agreement is the eventual abolition of customs duties between the EU and the three countries, as well as a close political partnership focused on human rights, democracy, rule of law, sustainable development, conflict prevention and good governance, Paet said

The association and free trade agreement is also the basis for reforms in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Talks over the agreement with Georgia and Moldova began in 2010 and the association agreements were initialled in November at the Vilnius summit.

The daily Eesti Päevaleht reported in late May that the Georgian government is experiencing pressure from Russia in relation to the signing, with hints at possible trade repercussions, and the issue could cause a rift in the coalition there.

The agreement is scheduled to be signed at the European Council on June 27.

The refusal of Ukraine’s then-president Viktor Yanukovych to sign the agreement in November launched the series of protests and power change, followed by the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the ongoing crisis in the eastern part of the country.

The agreement is currently awaiting signing and Paet said Estonia hopes it will be signed in late June, as the presidential elections in Ukraine showed the country’s wish to align itself with Europe.

Source: ERR News

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