MCCI organized an Interactive Session with H.E. Riho Kruuv, Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia in India on the theme “Doing Business with Estonia” today at the Conference Hall of MCCI. C. K. Dhanuka, Hony. Consul of Estonia in Kolkata was present and spoke on the occasion. Ankit Bahl, Advisor: Trade & Investments, Embassy of the Republic of Estonia in India was also present and addressed the gathering.
Riho Kruuv said that Estonia’s e-residency programme allows 100 p.c. ownership without local directorship. He added that Estonia is a small country with 1.3 million people which gained independence from USSR in 1991. Since it wanted to be transparent and efficient, it immediately experimented with digital technology. In 2000, Estonia provided a card with a chip to all its citizens who can thereby avail of 3,000 services with the card.
Estonia represents tremendous business opportunities and represents sectors such as of Fintech, Cybersecurity, Blockchain and Smart City (IoT, e- vehicles, high speed data) and Defense sector companies. Some of these companies have played a transformative role in delivering e-governance solutions not only for Estonia but many developed and developing nations.
Estonia is a small country rich in technology. Should you be unable to go there in person, your virtual presence is also much appreciated. Its newly launched e-residency program provides a unique opportunity to manage a company registered in Estonia from abroad. In two years Estonia has gained more than 30,000 e-residents of which considerable part are active in business.
Ankit Bahl said that Estonia’s e-residency programme is a transparent system which can be set up in 1 day. He mentioned the following information society indicators of Estonia (1) the whole country is covered by broadband, (2) 99 p.c. of state services are online, (3) 99 p.c. of population has an id card, (4) it was first country to use blockchain at the national level and (5) 2 p.c. of GDP per year is saved with digital signature.
Mr. Bahl added that in Estonia, 98 p.c. of companies are established online, 99 p.c. of banking is done online and 95 p.c. of tax declaration is done online. He further added that Estonia is (1) #1 in OECD Tax Competitiveness Index for last three years and (2) #2 in Index of Economic Freedom in EU. Estonia is ranked at #12 in Ease of Doing Business. Estonia has a credit rating of AA – from S&P and A+ from Fitch.
Mr. Bahl informed that Estonia has a simple and favourable tax system. Corporate income tax on reinvested profits is zero. There is a 14 p.c. to 20 p.c. tax rate for corporate income tax on distributed profit. The personal income tax rate is 20 p.c.
C. K. Dhanuka said that Estonia is a beautiful country which attracts 6.7 million tourists annually. If you park your profits in Estonia, then you do not have to pay any taxes. It you take funds out of the country, then you have to pay taxes.
Earlier Shyam Sunder Beriwala, Past President, MCCI in his welcome address said that bilateral trade between India & Estonia in 2016 was USD$ 199.96 million, with India’s exports being USD 97.5 million.