Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) has stressed the importance of free trade for both the Estonian and global economies in a speech made on Friday.
"The Estonian economy grew by 3.7% in the second quarter,'' said Mr. Ratas at a meeting on Friday organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Estonia (AmCham), hosting both Estonian and international businesspeople, investors and others.
''Comparing this with the years before the crisis, an economic growth rate of 3–4% is reassuring, as it means risk of overheating is much lower," he went on, referring to the downturn of 2008-2010, during which growth rates plummeted from somewhat higher figures than that of today, to negative levels, as low as -9% in the worst period.
The prime minister also highlighted the trends in the Estonian economy of recent times, such as rapid growth of the technology sector, and named an acute labour shortage as a potential threat in Estonia. Ratas also described growing protectionism as a threat to the international economy.
"After ten years of subdued growth, international trade has started gaining momentum again. This, however, is jeopardized by ever growing protectionism. Estonia has always been a supporter of free trade. Trade is not a zero-sum game," Mr. Ratas continued, most likely in the light of various trade wars threatened or engaged in by the Trump administration in the US.
The meeting was attended by AmCham members and representatives from the other chambers of commerce active in Estonia, such as those of Finland, Sweden and Germany.
Mr. Ratas' party, Centre, has traditionally espoused more centre-left economic policy in its approach.
Editor: Andrew Whyte