Estonia - Economy

Estonia has one of the strongest economies among the former Soviet republics. Its mineral resources include 60% of former Soviet oil shale deposits, as well as phosphates. Light manufacturing dominates industry, with major sectors that include textiles, furniture, and electronics. Agriculture is based mainly on rearing livestock, but dairy farming is also significant. Estonia is self-sufficient in electrical power.

The economy started to revive after the 1992 monetary reform, reintroducing the preoccupation quasi-convertible Estonian kroon. Estonia's economy quickly became one of the strongest post-communist economies in eastern Europe as successive governments remained committed to the implementation of market reforms. Growth continued until 1998, when Estonia underwent its first post-Soviet economic downturn. GDP growth slowed to 4% in 1998 and declined to -1.1% in 1999. The economy began to improve the following year.

Estonia's economic progress is linked to its liberal foreign trade regime (there are few tariffs or non-tariff barriers), effective bankruptcy legislation, and swift privatization. State subsidies were in the process of being abolished in the early 2000s, and all of these measures helped to stabilize and restructure the economy. As a result, Estonia received high levels of foreign direct investment. Although the global economy was in a downturn in the early 2000s, Estonia was able to maintain GDP growth rates of around 5%, higher than many other European countries. Major growth sectors include information technology, transportation, and construction services. Estonia was formally invited to join the EU in December 2002, with accession planned for May 2004. The country became a member of the WTO in 1999.

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