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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Sunday, 07.03.2021, 20:39

Dalai Lama's visit to Estonia closed Chinese market to Estonian milk

BC, Tallinn, 27.11.2014.Print version
The Chinese market is closed for Estonian dairy companies because the Dalai Lama was received at top level in Estonia in 2011, LETA/Eesti Päevaleht writes.

Dalai Lama and Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama made an informal visit to Estonia in 2011. However, since he met during the visit with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Defence Minister Mart Laar who was fulfilling the tasks of Prime Minister at that time, as well as many other politicians, trade relations between Estonia and China are still frozen. This also applies to dairy products, to which new markets are sought feverishly because of the Russian import restrictions.


Finns are actively operating in the Chinese market, but there is no place for Estonia there. "Estonia and Finland have different strategies in exports of dairy products. They focus on China, but we do not, because this market is currently locked for us. There is no point for us to develop agreements at business level, since our products are not allowed there. Things have not progressed the best for us at the Chinese market after Estonian officials received the Dalai Lama," Foreign Trade Minister Anne Sulling worded the problem bluntly.


In August 2011, Pro Patria and Res Publica Union ministers and a president Toomas Hendrik Ilves decided to meet with the Dalai Lama who visited Estonia. At this time, it was said that the decision would have no impact on Estonia's relations with Beijing. Yet, China froze high-level political ties with Estonia – during all this period, no higher state visits have taken place from China to Estonia or vice versa. In September this year, the Chinese government published a notice stating that Beijing finally accepted the apologies of the Estonian government for hosting the visit of Dalai Lama three years ago, and the political relations have normalized again.

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