Estonia is most likely to succeed globally much as Ireland and Finland have as members of the European Union, said Charles M. Ludolph, the former deputy assistant secretary for Europe from 1997-2001 with the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Mr. Ludolph, now senior vice president of Washington-based Stonebridge International LLC, a global strategy consulting firm, also considers Hungary, a country with a population of over nine million, as a standout due to its investment in the software sector.
Estonia with a population of more than one million has embraced technology transfer in manufacturing, he said. It also works closely with its Scandinavian trade partners and has learned to be globally competitive.
“Hungary chose to focus on one sector,” he said. He added that by focusing on the software industry Hungary was able to attract well-trained engineers from nearby countries including Romania.
During a presentation at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Huang Executive Education Center last week, he also encouraged attendees to consider Slovakia, Slovenia and Poland for investment when reviewing the 10 new countries joining the European Union on May 1.
He suggested local companies look seriously at Slovakia and Slovenia for partnerships because they have improved their productivity levels to be able to compete in the EU and may experience a 3 percent growth rate over the next two years.
Poland will be an excellent market for local companies to export consumable products. However, he warned against establishing partnerships in the country because it has selected the wrong business model, focused on setting up small manufacturing operations rather than attracting larger manufacturing operations.
The new eastern boundary of the EU will now be the Ukraine that will have comparatively low wages, he added.
For more information, contact Mr. Ludolph at (202) 637-8600.