A study by the political think tank Praxis says it has overturned a popular opinion that Estonia’s exporters – the engine of the country’s economy – are chiefly subcontractors, finding that only 9 percent of exporters specialize in outsourced production.

For 45 percent of companies surveyed, original products or services accounted for 90 to 100 percent of exports, reported Eesti Päevaleht.

Of the 1,500 companies surveyed, 40 percent reported making over half their turnover from exports.

“Therefore, the assertion that Estonian exporters are primarily subcontractors does not hold water,” the analysis said.

Priit Tamm, the head of Mistra-Autex, a medium-sized enterprise, said subcontractors had a bad name in the past.

“When it is said that subcontracting is bad, they are apparently referring to activities such as when weavers receive a roll of fabric from China and diagrams from Western Europe, and they then make a shirt according to the instructions, package it and send it off. This type of company may indeed make up just 9 percent of companies in Estonia,” Tamm said.

“But if we take an order from Volkswagen, which has a complicated design and technical characteristics, and development takes a year or two – in that case, we are proud to belong to the group of companies known as subcontractors,” Tamm said.

Source: Praxis: Exporters No Longer Just Subcontractors, ERR