On 4 November, the Prime Minister of China, Li Keqiang, arrives on an official visit to Latvia and will meet with the President of Latvia, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Saeima (the Latvian Parliament). This first visit of a Chinese Premier to Latvia is both a historic milestone and a symbolic event, since this year marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Latvia and China.
Over the recent years, both countries have mobilised major resources to intensify economic cooperation, and therefore the main focus of this visit will be placed on business contacts. The visit will be instrumental to expanding cooperation with China in various sectors, especially the channelling of China’s cargos through Latvian ports, attracting investments to transport and infrastructure, and continuing cooperation with the aim of launching direct flights. Cooperation in the tourism sector will also be discussed with Chinese partners. The Latvian visa centres opened in 15 cities across China are expected to give a strong impulse to development in this field.
China is growing increasingly important as Latvia’s trade partner, while the trade balance is also gradually levelling out: Latvia’s exports to China have increased from only 10 million euro in 2006 to more than 100 million euros at this point in time. The path for food exports to China is already open: 12 Latvian dairy companies and 33 fish processing plants have been certified and launched their exports. Manufacturers from Latvian timber processing, cosmetics, electric appliances, peat and other sectors have also been successful in entering the Chinese market.
During the Chinese Premier’s visit, the Meeting of Heads of Government of the Central and Eastern European countries and China and the Business Forum will take place, bringing together more than 650 businessmen, including 250 representatives from China’s finance, investment, trade and tourism sectors. A 16+1 conference of think-tanks and a sinologists’ conference will also be held.
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