Fishing firm Viru Kalatoostus, has admitted that it fears that when Estonia becomes a member of the European Union (EU), its business will deteriorate considerably.

One of the largest fish processing plants in Estonia, Viru Kalatoostus is currently investing 30m kroons (US$1.73m) in order to meet EU-processing standards. The company’s management explained to the Aripaev business daily however that there are few benefits to be had from the spending.

Anticipating a drop in annual turnover from 150m kroons to 120m kroons with the accession of Estonia to the EU, the company has cancelled the building of a new production plant and announced plans to close one department by the end of 2002.

In particular, the management explained that when Estonia joins the EU, its free trade agreement with Ukraine will be severed and due to dioxin level standards there may be a ban on the human consumption of its Baltic herring exports in the agreement’s place.

Director general Agu Laanemets added that there would be high tariffs on Estonian exports.