Estonia opening business promotion office here

Estonia is opening an office in Singapore to facilitate business relations between the Northern European country and South-east Asia.

Enterprise Estonia said it sees a lot of potential in the region, in sectors like technology, cosmetics, and food and beverages.

Singapore Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon and Estonia's Minister of Entrepreneurship Liisa Oviir will officiate at the opening. Ms Oviir is here with representatives from 30 Estonian companies. Some are already making deals with local firms.

Enterprise Estonia Singapore's chief representative officer, Mr Indrek Pallo, said Estonian organic health products company Chaga Health is signing a South-east Asia representation agreement with Singaporean firm GoPurpose to market its products in this region.

He also sees potential in matching Singaporean venture-capital firms with start-ups in Estonia, many of which are looking to Asia for growth. "Singapore is best placed to be the launch pad for their activities in this region," he said. "In Estonia, even the government has its own start-up company, the e-Residency programme."

When someone signs up for the programme, he receives a government-issued smart ID card that provides digital identification and authorisation. It allows him to digitally sign important papers, access secure services and make secure transactions, even if he does not live in Estonia. So, a Singaporean entrepreneur can establish an Estonian company that he runs from Singapore, to serve clients based across the European Union.

Vice-director of e-Residency Ott Vatter said: "It allows Singaporean companies to operate their businesses in a more cost-efficient manner, since they can sign documents digitally, declare taxes online, conduct e-banking and so on, hence reducing the time spent on travel to Europe and back."

Yasmine Yahya

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'Estonia opening business promotion office here'. Print Edition | Subscribe