RIYADH: Economic and trade relations between Saudi Arabia and Estonia are set to strengthen after the Kingdom’s Economy and Planning Minister Faisal Al-Ibrahim met with Estonian Ambassador Jaan Reinhold.
The pair held talks on Nov. 21 in Riyadh to discuss avenues for improving economic ties, investment opportunities and areas of mutual interests.
The meeting is a follow-up to the minister’s visit to the European nation in October for the Enterprise Estonia Business Roundtable to enhance bilateral trade ties, economic cooperation and tourism.
According to the General Authority for Statistics, exports to Estonia in August reached SR5.6 million ($1.49 million), compared to SR15.8 million in the year-ago period.
Saudi Arabia exported plastics and rubber worth SR3.6 million and metals valued at SR2 million.
On the other hand, imports to the Kingdom from Estonia in August reached SR5.8 million, compared to SR204.6 million in the same month a year ago.
Saudi Arabia imported mainly plant products, machinery, and mechanical appliances from Estonia.
According to an International Monetary Fund report in July, Estonia has experienced a significant and widespread economic downturn due to Russia's conflict with Ukraine, which has had an impact on trade.
“Exports have been the main driver, reflecting weaker external demand but private consumption has also weakened considerably as high inflation has weighed on real disposable income,” said the fund.
In June, however, both countries signed deals covering trade, technology, and entrepreneurship during a three-day visit to Estonia by Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih to bolster strategic partnerships and explore mutually beneficial investment opportunities.
During the visit, Al-Falih met with Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and other high-level government officials, resulting in companies from both sides signing five memorandums of understanding.
Additionally, Estonian President Alar Karis, in an interview with Arab News in May, expressed an interest in becoming part of the Kingdom’s transformation and development story.
“We follow very closely what’s happening in Saudi Arabia, especially about women’s rights and the (social) reforms and everything,” Karis said at the time.
He added: “Saudi Arabia is really developing in that sense and taking a No. 1 position, I would say, in this region. We want to be part of this transformation.”