Fostering of different forms of collaboration with countries of Asia has become ever more topical in Estonia. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu puts a particularly strong emphasis on the role of Asia, and in 2012 the Riigikogu approved the report ‘The Opportunities and Interests of Estonia in Asia until 2025’ prepared on the basis of Asia Strategy 2011–2012 hearings, which underlined the priority of the respective direction. In the foreword of the report the rapporteur M. Mihkelson writes:
‘Why has the Foreign Affairs Committee paid so much attention to Asia? The first and foremost of the reasons is drawing attention to major changes taking place in the world, and the need to update the Estonian foreign (trade) policy to match these changes. It is obvious that the centre of power is shifting from the Euro-Atlantic region to other parts of the world. There has even been talk of the possibility of the Asian and Pacific region becoming the new dominant centre influencing global developments in the 21st century. It is believed that the British and American century will be followed by an Asian century.’
Many of Government ministries encounter Asia related topics either in their daily work or in a more indirect manner.
The developments listed below demonstrate the upward trends and growing interest towards Asia in Estonia:
2010 The Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry participates in the project BENCH (Beneficial Business Relations between the Central Baltic Region and China) along with 9 organisations from Sweden, Finland and Estonia (Estonia: University of Tartu and Tartu Science Park, 2010—13)
2010 Initiative of the Ministry of Education and Research for the establishment of a joint module of Tallinn University, University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology ‘Asian Societies, Economy and Politics’ (the leading partner Tallinn University, 2010—15), aimed at improving the understanding of entrepreneurs wishing to do business in Asia of the particular features of the region.
– the joint module offers about 40 Asia related courses to complement 5 curricula;
– the number of registered participants in the joint module has been 276 (2012) and 192 (2013)
2010 Foundation of the Confucius Institute in Estonia (Tallinn University)
2011 The Riigikogu announced a procurement for the study ‘Foreign Policy Strategies in Asia: the experience of other countries and recommendations for Estonia’ (prepared by Tallinn University/ J. Käkönen)
2012 The Riigikogu approved the report ‘The Opportunities and Interests of Estonia in Asia until 2025’ (rapporteur M.Mihkelson) prepared on the basis of Asia Strategy 2011–2012 hearings, which underlines the priority of the respective direction.
2012 Publication of the monitoring report of the Development Fund of Estonia ‘The future of Estonian-Indian economic partnership’ – the first complete monitoring report on the impact of the megatrend of the rise of Asia and, in a broader sense, the emerging economies on Estonia.
2012 The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication adopted a programme, which sets objectives and specifies activities for the entry of Estonian companies into the emerging Asian Markets (author R.Allikivi)
2012 Enterprise Estonia launched the pilot project Export Bulldozer for the Chinese Market
2013 Estonia opened its Embassy in India
2013 Acceptance of the project proposal submitted by Tallinn University, University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology ‘Establishment of the Competence Centre for Asian Studies and Development of Research on Asia’ (2014–2015, leading partner Tallinn University)
– the project entails the establishment of the Asian Research Centre in Estonia (AUKE), which brings together researchers who study Asian economy, politics, and society in Estonian universities into one network-based structure;
– the project improves the Asia related research capacity of the universities (creation of research assistant positions, invitation of researchers from Asian countries);
2014 The annex to the action plan of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications ‘Made in Estonia 3.0’ identifies – as one of the activities targeted at improving the export competence of the staff of Estonian businesses – the upgrading of the Asian module into a full-scale business-focussed Master’s degree curriculum (the entity in charge: Enterprise Estonia, launch of the activities in 2014)
2014 The only NGO in Estonia promoting development cooperation and delivering humanitarian aid – MTÜ Mondo – that has been operating in 2008—2011 in Afghanistan and in 2013 in Syria, expands its operations to Myanmar.
2014 The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu announces procurement of the research ‘Institutional Capacity of the Estonian Public Sector Towards Asia’, which is won by the Institute of Political Science and Governance of Tallinn University, and the Estonian Institute for Future Studies with the Estonian Centre for Asian Studies (AUKE). The study was completed by November, and was reported to the Riigikogu on 18 November.
2015 Enterprise Estonia launches the advisory and support services package Export China, to facilitate the move of Estonian entrepreneurs to the target markets of China. The services package responds to the need of the business community to improve the knowledge, skills and experience of their employees required for entering into the China’s target market, and understanding of the local business environment. Within the Export China programme customers are provided advisory services, assisted in finding export partners and carrying out their background checks, and are offered information about various business events.