During the working visit in the United States of America on July 13-22, Valdis Dombrovskis, Prime Minister of the Republic of Latvia, presented to American businesses and finance sector representatives concrete proposals for cooperation of Latvian and American companies; the delegation of Latvia included more than 40 entrepreneurs from Latvia representing such sectors as IT and electronics, transport and logistics, metal processing and mechanical engineering, construction, education, etc. The business delegation was formed by the Latvian Investment and Development Agency; it also included the management of the Association of Latvian Commercial Banks and representatives of the stock exchange NASDAQ OMX Rīga and American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia.
„During the visit we met representatives from more than 60 American corporations, including companies which are world leaders in their area of activities, in order to strengthen economic cooperation. The initiative of the Latvian IT companies needs a special highlight as this is the field which opens the greatest potential for expanded business activities. By further developing the contacts made during this visit, our companies have opportunities for considerably increased trade volumes and for attraction of new investments from the United States in the nearest future”, Valdis Dombrovskis said.
On Friday, July 22, the Prime Minister will end his working visit in the United States of America by visiting the NASDAQ Stock Exchange and participating in the NASDAQ closing bell ceremony held every day.
Valdis Dombrovskis expressed his conviction that „the United States is a strategic partner of Latvia by which we have developed close political contacts and cooperation in defence matters, but the focus of this visit was on the development of economic cooperation. Now, when Latvia’s economy is gradually recovering, it is the right moment to enter new markets and expend the existing ones”.
The Prime Minister of Latvia made several presentations regarding Latvia’s experience in overcoming the financial crisis, for instance, in the World Bank, Peterson Institute for International Economics, Stanford University, EU Mission in the USA, World Affairs Council and Council of Foreign Relations.
Valdis Dombrovskis met entrepreneurs representing various sectors of the economy, including the defence technology company Raytheon, transport and logistics company Maersk, agricultural equipment company John Deere, electronic and communication technology company Cisco, audio technologies’ company Dolby Laboratories Inc, IT company Juniper Networks, film production company Warner Brothers Studios, information technology and research company IBM, Internet and software company Google, banking and finance companies Citibank, Credit Suisse and NCH Capital Inc, IT companies Exigen and Dell.
The honorary consuls of Latvia in the United States play an important role in the developing business contacts, therefore the Prime Minister opened two honorary consulates – in Northern California Latvia’s interests will be represented by finance expert Līga Hoy, but the honorary consul in Southern California will be surgeon Juris Buņķis who has undertaken to organise a visit of Los Angeles and Orange County entrepreneurs to Latvia.
During the meetings with U.S. corporations and financial investors the sides discussed opportunities for investments into Latvian projects in such areas as production, IT, transit and other industries, for cooperation projects or for expansion or launching of business activities in Latvia. Latvia’s delegation and representatives of IBM discussed opening of a joint competence centre and development of closer cooperation with Latvian universities. „For IT companies Latvia can offer a favourable taxation system, well developed IT infrastructure and favourable conditions for cooperation, as well as highly qualified, experienced and skilled specialists who are able to fulfil tasks and problems of global leaders,” Prime Minister emphasised during negotiations with the American IT companies.
When meeting the management of Raytheon International, the Latvian Investment and Development Agency presented offers of three Latvian companies which could engage in closer cooperation – SAF Tehnika, Hansa Metrics and Regula. During a meeting with the leaders of Maersk Line Limited the representatives of this company acknowledged good experience in organising U.S. transit freights to Afghanistan via Latvia and admitted that the Northern Distribution Network is a successful project which could be developed. As the USA gradually decreases its presence in Afghanistan, it is expected that the flow of transit freights soon will be from Afghanistan to the United States, and up to 50% of them could be transported via Latvia. The company John Deere was also interested in promoting cooperation in the area of transport and logistics in view of the role of the Baltic region as an access point to Russia’s market.
During a meeting with Francisco Sánchez, U.S. Under-Secretary of Commerce, the sides discussed opportunities for expanded trade and also addressed re-consideration of the restrictions set by the United States for the Latvian company Liepājas Metalurgs which are contrary to the recommendations of the World Trade Organisation.
The Prime Minister of Latvia met Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, and discussed the Latvian economy stabilisation programme. Timothy Geithner said: „Latvia’s approach to overcoming its crisis is a successful strategy for a comeback to the international financial markets and for regaining their confidence.” Valdis Dombrovskis also met members of the U.S. House of Representatives Gregory Meeks and Ed Royce, U.S Senator James Inhofe, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman, and Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. State Secretary and lecturer at the Stanford University.
An important focus of the visit was on promotion of university cooperation by holding meetings at the Stanford University and the University of Texas. „American universities have more developed cooperation with the business sector by effectively transferring knowledge and technologies from universities to businesses. Latvian universities should take over this experience, particularly by developing applied research in the relevant areas,” the Prime Minister emphasised.
The Prime Minister opened a representation of the Latvian American Business Association of California (LABACA) in the Silicon Valley, participated in a round-table discussion of the Atlantic Council on shale gas, met the leaders of the American Latvian Association and local Latvian entrepreneurs, as well as participated in seminars in Los Angeles and Austin.
Mārtiņš Bičevskis, President of the Association of Latvian Commercial Banks (LKA), commented on the visit in the USA:
The LKA highly values the opportunity provided by the Prime Minister to participate in Latvia’s delegation in the United States, and Prime Minister’s work explaining the situation and policies in our country in order to form an essential platform for further cooperation and new investments, as well as for the development of relations of Latvian and American financial institutions.
Indara Aščuka, representative of NASDAQ OMX Rīga, commented on the visit in the USA:
Latvia’s delegation which included both politicians and entrepreneurs was a good example of public and private sector partnership – business is a driving force of Latvia’s economy and the Prime Minister, by opening the doors to top-level negotiations, supports more active business activities. During the visit we saw respect and acknowledgement of the United States regarding our success in balancing expenditures and income what has become a failure in a number of more prosperous and influential countries. At home we certainly are not fully aware of this unique success. If we continue the stabilisation of the economy, we could become a truly valuable example for other countries.
Ivars Slokenbergs, representative of the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia, commented on the visit in the USA:
The American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia highly values the visit in the United States. One of the aims of this visit was to considerably increase recognisability of Latvia which is a pre-condition for significant development of economic relation between Latvia and the United States. I think this aim was attained. The Prime Minister and entrepreneurs met leading U.S. companies and established contacts with world-class American universities and important NGOs in the United States, as well as with influential American politicians. The visit was also aimed at ensuring more active cooperation with promising Latvia’s honorary consuls in San Francisco and Southern California, and at strengthening cooperation with the honorary consuls in New York and Texas. Generally, the visit formed a basis for future American investments into Latvia and for new cooperation projects with the United States. To my mind, we just started to employ those vast opportunities which are open to Latvia and its businesses in the U.S. market.
Valdis Dombrovskis also gave interviews to the leading American mass media – newspaper Washington Post, news agencies Dow Jones, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg, as well as Forbes journal.
The visit was aimed at encouraging political dialogue and developing cooperation of Latvian and American companies. The Latvian Prime Minister was accompanied by a delegation of 28 Latvian entrepreneurs and representatives of the Latvian Investment and Development Agency, the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia and the Latvian-American Business Association in the Silicon Valley. The IT and electronic industry was represented by SIA MolPort, Exigen Capital, MICROSOFT LATVIA SIA, Tilde SIA, RIX Technologies SIA, Digitālās Ekonomikas Attīstības Centrs SIA, iSoft Solutions SIA, Anazana SIA, Datorzinību centrs AS, e-Tag SIA, Elva Baltic Ltd.; the nergy sector - Getliņi ECO SIA, HYGEN SIA, Baltic Wind Park SIA, Siltumelektroprojekts AS; the transport and logistics industry - Ventspils Free Port Administration, Astra Logistic SIA; the metal processing and mechanical engineering industry – Jelgava Engineering Plant AS; the construction sector - Ostas celtnieks SIA; the film production industry - Oobelisk SIA, Kaupo Filma SIA; the education industry – Rīga Technical University; the tourism industry - YOUR RUN SIA; the legal services industry – Kronbergs & Čukste Attorneys-At-Law, attorneys-at-law bureau BDO Zelmenis&Liberte; representatives of the Classic Art Gallery, Accounting.eu SIA and NASDAQ OMX Rīga.
Photos of the visit in the USA:
The Prime Minister meets met Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury of the United States: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valstskanceleja/sets/72157627066970031/
The Prime Minister visits the Stanford University and meets Condoleezza Rice: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valstskanceleja/sets/72157627081829937/
The Prime Minister at the opening of LABACA representation: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valstskanceleja/sets/72157627206438550/
The Prime Minister participates at the business seminar organised by the company Allergan: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valstskanceleja/sets/72157627238632576/
Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis at New York’s Stock Exchange (NYSE): http://www.flickr.com/photos/valstskanceleja/sets/72157627252995276/
For additional information contact:
Prime Minister’s Press Secretary
Phone: 67082865 / 26556965