Should the Estonian government decide to establish the position of Minister of Foreign Trade within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this would require the reformation of the Enterprise Estonia foundation within the area of government of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) said.
"If all foreign economic policy were to be transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with a new Minister of Foreign Trade and perhaps also development issues, it is completely clear that it will also bring with it all the resources that are currently being spent in the area of government of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications," Mikser said in a live interview to daily Postimees on Tuesday.
At the same time, the promotion of foreign trade and the attracting of investments carried out in foreign countries is only one part of Enterprise Estonia's activity, the minister continued.
"Thus it must definitely be considered in parallel right now whether and how to restructure the current Enterprise Estonia," he said. "Whether its domestic activities, which would likely not be transferred to the Foreign Ministry, should be separated from foreign trade activity — whether it is reasonable and justified, whether it will give the effect, whether it will not damage the activity that Enterprise Estonia is currently carrying out domestically to support and develop entrepreneurship."
According to Mikser, the ministry and Enterprise Estonia signed a cooperation agreement about a decade ago which stipulates that in the countries and cities where Enterprise Estonia has representations, the foundation will be the one to handle the representation of Estonia's foreign trade interests, ie supporting and helping Estonian companies enter foreign markets and bringing foreign investments to Estonia, while the same will be done elsewhere by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' foreign trade policy division.
"These are issues that should be analysed," said the minister. "I would personally welcome it thoroughly if the human and financial resources at the disposal of the Foreign Ministry increased and the capability of our house to define, form and direct foreign trade policy would increase by the amount that is currently being done by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and Enterprise Estonia."
Recently, an analysis of the possibilities for strengthening Estonia's foreign service commissioned by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikgu and conducted by the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) indicated that the government should have a separate minister whose task it would be to promote Estonia's foreign trade interests.
Editor: Aili Vahtla