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Minister: If Estonia to join Dubai Expo, embassy should be opened as well

Outgoing Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo (SDE).
Outgoing Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Urve Palo (SDE). Source: (Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR)

If Estonia should decide to participate in the Dubai Expo 2020, this should also be accompanied by the opening of a foreign representation in the United Arab Emirates, Minister of Entrepreneurship and IT Urve Palo (SDE) said.

"Participation in only one trade fair, the Expo, is insufficient. If we go to the trade fair, we should really open a foreign representation there as well that would continue working in the region. Otherwise it's a very large one-off expense. Personally, I support opening a representation in the region," Palo told the Baltic News Service on Tuesday.

Participation in the expo is estimated to cost Estonia at least €6 to 7 million. The annual cost of maintaining a diplomatic representation in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, is estimated to be approximately €700,000.

This means that the money Estonia would spend on its presence at the Dubai Expo 2020 could maintain such a representation for a decade, Palo said at a business diplomacy roundtable held by the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

Palo added that the government should make its decision in the next few weeks, as delaying it would make it difficult to prepare for the event. Also, state budget strategy talks are due to start soon, where the allocation of money to establish a foreign representation in the Emirates could be discussed.

Opening an embassy would of course include considering foreign policy and consular interests, Palo said. "But entrepreneurs are definitely interested, and I think it's worth contributing towards that," Palo said.

The round table on Tuesday discussed Estonia's business diplomacy as well as Estonia's current and future foreign trade policy. Palo as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) attended the event for the government.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS, ERR

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