Estonian foreign trade recovering

Estonian foreign trade recovering

Estonian foreign trade

After a relatively serious drop in foreign trade in 2015. Estonian export and import figures showed fairly decent growth in 2016 - each rising by 3%. Estonia therefore was the only Baltic state that managed to increase its foreign trade amid external economic and social volatility last year.

In 2016, Estonia exported EUR 11.9 billion worth of goods, while its imports were worth EUR 13.5 billion. Estonia’s foreign trade gap widened by nearly EUR 73 million from 2015 to EUR 1.6 billion in 2016. The largest surplus was recorded in trade in timber, timber products and furniture, while the largest deficit was in trade in transportation equipment and chemical products.  

Electrical equipment leads Estonian exports


Like in 2015, electrical equipment dominated Estonian exports also in 2016, making up 22% of Estonia’s total exports. These products were followed by timber and timber products, accounting for 10% of Estonian exports. In 2016, Estonia also exported a fair amount of agricultural produce and food, as well as various industrial products, which made up 9% of total exports.   
On the whole, Estonian exports in 2016 were driven by trade in mechanical and electrical appliances, as well as exports of timber and timber products. A reduction was recorded in exports of mineral products, agricultural produce and food.  

Exports to Germany pick up


Traditionally, Estonia has been shipping the largest amounts of its export goods to Sweden, which receives 18% of Estonia’s total exports. Last year, Estonia also exported quite a lot to its neighbor countries, with 16% of total exports going to Finland and 9% to Latvia. Estonian exports to Latvia, however, declined by 9% last year. The steepest increase was recorded in Estonian exports to Germany which grew by 16% to EUR 704.4 million. Estonia also managed to increase exports to countries like Mexico and Finland.

Estonian-made goods sold mainly in Sweden


Estonian-made goods accounted for 72% of Estonia’s total exports in 2016. The principal domestically made goods included mineral products, timber, timber products and electrical appliances. Meanwhile, exports of Estonian-made agricultural and food products dropped last year. Estonian-made goods are sold mainly in Sweden, Finland and Germany. In 2016, exports of Estonian-made goods rose at the fastest pace to Mexico and Germany, while a reduction was recorded in exports to countries like Sweden and Russia. 

Imports from Finland growing

Last year, Estonian imports were dominated by electrical appliances, which made up 18% of Estonia’s total imports. Transportation equipment emerged as the second most-imported category of goods, accounting for 11% of total imports, just like agricultural and food products. The steepest rise was recorded in imports of transportation equipment, which grew by 18%, and imports of textiles, which rose by 10%, while imports of mineral products showed the sharpest drop, falling by 17%. 
Last year, Estonia imported the largest amount of goods from Finland, with imports from this country totaling EUR 1.76 billion. Germany was the second largest import partner, supplying goods worth EUR 1.48 billion, up 3% against 2015. Goods from Finland made up 11% and goods from Germany 9% of Estonian imports. 
At the same time, the fastest growth was recorded in imports from the Netherlands which rose by 18% to EUR 847.9 million last year. Imports from Hungary and France also increased in 2016. The sharpest drop was recorded in imports from Finland, which last year supplied 7% less goods than in 2015, and imports from Russia declined 5%.

Exports to 179 countries, imports to 144

In 2016, Estonia exported goods to 179 countries of the world and imported goods from 144 countries. Estonia achieved a positive trade balance with 97 countries. The largest surplus - EUR 1 billion - was recorded in Estonia’s trade with Sweden, followed by Norway, Mexico and Finland. The largest deficits were recorded in trade with Germany, Poland and Lithuania. 


The European Union (EU) was Estonia’s principal foreign trade partner last year as Estonia’s exports to its member states made up 74% and imports 82% of its total foreign trade volume. Estonia’s trade gap with EU member states expanded by EUR 219 million from 2015 to EUR 2.4 billion in 2016. Estonian exports to EU member states grew by EUR 85 million and imports increased by EUR 303 million. In trade with non-EU countries, Estonian exports grew by EUR 232 million and imports rose by EUR 86 million. Compared to 2015, Estonian export prices declined by 1% percent and import prices dropped by 2% in 2016.  

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