James York: New U.S. trends important for Estonian economy

James York.
James York. Source: Enterprise Estonia

A grand shift in thought patterns is taking place in USA following the change of administration the importance of which for the Estonian economy cannot be overestimated, James York writes.

U.S. imports were down 6 percent last year, while Estonian export to the U.S. grew by 15.5 percent to €1.123 billion. While various trends speak of panic in the marketplace, Estonia's growing trade with one of its most important strategic allies speaks of hope, cooperation and opportunity.

Looking at the U.S. market more broadly, we saw a sharp spike in demand for gold and things made of gold toward the start of the crisis, with sales volumes growing fifteenfold at peak times. The import volume of masks and disposable protective suits grew by three and 1.7 times respectively.

The import volume of speakers, microphones and headphones growing 42 percent and that of video game consoles 35 percent was less surprising. Import of timber and sawn materials also grew 38 percent.

These changes can be explained through the emergence of the new demographic of people working from home office preparing for the long-term effects of the coronavirus crisis. Demand grew for furniture, with home offices and garden houses expanded. People procured video conferencing equipment and family entertainment.

$4 trillion

President Joe Biden recently unveiled the "Build Back Better" plan to follow America's $1.9 trillion recovery package. The new $4 trillion aid plan prescribes colossal infrastructure investments, including highway structures, sewage systems, power and communications networks and pledging major sums for green technologies.

Biden's economic plan also includes education investments, which is why we can expect growth in all corresponding fields. Fortunately for the Estonian business environment, the new U.S. priorities brilliantly coincide with the success stories and fields of activity of Estonian companies. Special attention needs to be paid to green tech and sustainable development challenges.

USA is returning to international agreements and organizations under President Biden, having already rejoined the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organization.

The Biden administration has also made addressing climate change a priority, with unfathomable sums channeled into green technologies to exponentially boost growth in the sector in the coming years.

The U.S. president has introduced mechanisms that will help hit ambitious environmental targets as early as in 2025 by promoting investments in clean energy, climate research and innovation.

Legislative changes to motivate business to develop and implement innovative energy solutions in parts of America that have suffered the most as a result of climate change will be introduced in the coming years.

Plenty of room on the market

A grand shift in thought patterns is taking place in USA following the change of administration the importance of which for the Estonian economy cannot be overestimated.

The time has come for Estonian entrepreneurs already active on the U.S. market to boost their footprint and take the bull by the horn. And for all prospective exporters whose fields of activity coincide with growth trends in USA to undertake market entry.

America climbed to fourth place among Estonia's trade partners in 2020 and demonstrated fastest growth in total export volume (from 6.77 percent to 7.86 percent), while there is still room for newcomers and new success stories on what is a huge market.

Enterprise Estonia (EAS) with colleagues in Estonian consulates in New York and San Francisco stands ready to help Estonian entrepreneurs to expand to the U.S. to support even closer integration of the two economies.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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