Prime minister stresses importance of US market to Estonia ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas on the streets of New York.
Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas on the streets of New York. Source: Social Media

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas is on a four-day working trip to New York, which included a meeting with the Baltic American Chamber of Commerce and business representatives, aimed at forging closer business ties between Estonia and the United States.

"Estonia-U.S. relations are already very good, but there is always room for growth when it comes to business," Ratas said Tuesday, according to a government press release.

"We have something to offer. The Estonian economy is part of the EU and is flexible and innovative; our IT sector and e-government set a global example. The U.S. market is vast, and the opportunities here are extremely important for our exporters," Ratas continued.

Ratas had already met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres while in New York, and was present at the opening of a new Enterprise Estonia office in the city.

He has also visited Google, as well as Pfizer pharmaceutical company, together with a business delegation.

"The government wants to do its utmost to open up opportunities for entrepreneurs, and I am pleased that contacts with large companies or small businesses here are paving the way for future cooperation," Ratas said.

Ratas also met representatives of the Federal Reserve, JPMorgan Chase and Citibank, meetings which also highlighted the Estonian government's fight against money laundering.

"The Estonian government is committed to a strong and secure financial sector. We are an open country, and when problems arise, our solution is to address them quickly and transparently," he said.

"Thanks to great work by our Financial Supervision Authority, stricter legislation and the willingness of banks to hedge risks, we are now in a completely different situation than was the case several years ago," Ratas continued.

"Money laundering is an international problem and cooperation with the U.S. is very important in combating it," he went on.

Two major cases of alleged money laundering involving the now-defunct Tallinn branch of Danske Bank, as well as its Swedbank branch, saw hundreds of billions in potentially illicit funds passing through the banks' portals over the period of around a decade.

Ratas also said that as a digital nation, Estonia has taken the lead in hedging future risks in the financial sector, with various innovative digital solutions aimed at managing financial sector risks.

On Wednesday, Ratas travels to Washington D.C. and will meet US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Deputy Treasurer Justin Muzinich, as well as James Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

Ratas will also speak at the American Enterprise Institute think tank and participate in a roundtable with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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