MP: state should not support exporting to Russia

03.01.2012, 09:59

Kalev Lillo, MP for Reform Party caused an uproar among businessmen last week when he said that the Estonian state should not support exporters who trade with Russia, writes Äripäev.

Lillo who is also member of the supervisory board of state-owned Port of Tallinn wrote in an opinion column published in Delfi last week that Estonia should be wary despite of Russia becoming a WTO member and being now Estonia’s second-largest export partner.

„We should not use taxpayer money for increasing economic security risks,” wrote Lillo.

His views have been met with surprise and disbelief by the majority of businessmen and exporters interviewed by Äripäev find such claims outrageous.

Tiit Vähi, ex-PM and owner of Sillamäe Port, said, for instance, that he suspects that Lillo was not sober when he made his statement in public. „I read this article and I felt that he either cnanot understand the business at all or was not sober,” said Vähi.

Raivo Vare, a logistics expert and former cabinet minister, added that Estonia’s economy was dependent on exports and that Russia had been Estonia’s top five export market at all times. „Estonian companies should export all they can – I think the current shares are balanced,” said Vare.