Foreign Direct Investment in Estonia
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Publication date: 2007-09-30
GNPJE 2007;218(9):55-77
The author looks at foreign direct investment in Estonia and discusses its implications for the country’s economy. The analysis covers the 1994-2004 period and is based on a combination of analytical and descriptive methods. To obtain a more complete picture of foreign capital involvement in Estonia, which was once part of the Soviet Union, the author discusses factors that influence the country’s investment attractiveness. She concludes that Estonia’s market transformation has contributed to a major acceleration in the inflow of FDI to this country. FDI in Estonia has been characterized by a strong concentration, both in terms of the investors’ country of origin and the sectors in which they become involved, Sobańska notes. Scandinavian companies, primarily those from Sweden as well as Finland, have dominated among foreign direct investors in Estonia, while the role of investors from Central and Eastern Europe in Estonia’s overall FDI performance has been marginal. Since 1998 the financial sector has been the main focus of foreign direct investment in Estonia. Foreign investors have also contributed to the restructuring of the country’s corporate sector. The inflow of foreign capital has enabled Estonia to join the international trade system. However, despite the generally positive role of FDI in the country’s development, the strong concentration of foreign capital leads to worries about the permanence of Estonia’s economic achievements. A potential economic crisis in Scandinavia could easily lead to a situation in which FDI would bring negative market trends to Estonia’s fledgling economy.
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