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Estonia and New Zealand enjoy a good working relationship. Estonia considers New Zealand to be a ‘natural partner’ of Estonia and the EU, and New Zealand officials enjoy open and frank engagement with Estonian counterparts.
Our existing Working Holiday Scheme is probably the most significant means by which links between Estonia and New Zealand have developed. There has been a strong uptake of the Working Holiday Scheme by young Estonians since it was established in 2007. Participants in the Scheme have been 100% in a single direction - Estonians travelling to New Zealand.
Although bilateral ties are limited, Estonia's strong economy, EU membership and close ties with its Scandinavian and Baltic neighbours make it of increasing relevance to New Zealand. Estonia is a reform-minded voice within the EU and has been supportive of positions that reflect New Zealand interests, including of d earlier offered Estonia’s active support for the proposal for a Framework Agreement with the European Union.
Bilateral trade levels are low (about $6 million total two way trade in calendar year 2012, weighted in NZ’s favour) and concentrated on a few niche products, but there are opportunities for New Zealand exports to Estonia to grow, particularly wine and high-tech products such as medical equipment. A New Zealand company, BBC Technologies, that manufactures sorting and filling machines for berry crops, has established its European office in Estonia.
Estonia's foreign policy priorities include the EU, NATO and relations with Russia and the United States. Estonia became a member of both the EU and NATO in 2004 and its membership of both institutions are the key pillars in its foreign and security relations. In late 2010, Estonia joined the OECD, and on 1 January 2011 the country introduced the Euro as its currency.
Land Area: 45,227 square km
Population: 1.34 million (2011)
Capital City: Tallinn
Language: Estonian is the official language. Finnish and Russian are widely understood
Political system: Parliamentary democracy
National government: Centre-right coalition of the Reform Party and the Pro Patria-Res Publica Union
National legislature: Unicameral Parliament, the Riigikogu, of 101 members
Last election: August 2011 (president) March 2011 (parliament)
Next election due: Autumn 2016 (President) March 2015 (Parliament)
Head of State: Mr Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President
Head of Government: Andrus Ansip (Reform Party)
GDP: US$21 billion
Real GDP growth: 2.4%
Exports: US$17 billion
Imports: US$18 billion
Main exports: Machinery and equipment, wood and paper, metals
Current account balance: US$708 million
National debt:5.9% of GDP
NZ Exports (FOB): NZ$4.5 million
Main Exports: Wool, agricultural equipment, machinery, sheepmeat, yachts
NZ Imports (CIF): NZ$1.5 million
Main Imports:Electrical machinery and audio equipment, photographic equipment, medical instruments, sports equipment
NB:: New Zealand's official trade statistics for exports to Estonia do not include goods transhipped from elsewhere in the EU, such as dairy products.
The first Estonian Ambassador to New Zealand presented his credentials on 5 December 2007. The Ambassador resides in Tallinn, Estonia. There is an Honorary Consul in Waikanae.
The Safe Travel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Estonia [external link].