On 11 October, the Latvian Foreign Ministry’s State Secretary, Andrejs Pildegovičs, took part in the Meeting of National Coordinators of cooperation in the Eastern and Central Europe-China format (16+1) in Budapest, Hungary. The State secretary also met with Vice Foreign Minister of China, Wang Chao.
The main item on the agenda of the meeting was preparation for the next Meeting of Heads of Government of CEEC-China (16+1), which is going to be the sixth summit and will take place in Budapest on 27 November. Péter Szijjártó, Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, handed State Secretary Pildegovičs a letter from Prime Minister Viktor Orbán inviting Latvia to take part in the event.
State Secretary confirmed that Latvia was prepared to continue contributing actively to the work of the 16+1 format and stressed that Latvia’s priorities are the strengthening of cooperation in transport and logistics, the attraction of investments to infrastructure projects, the promotion of trade, and tourism.
Andrejs Pildegovičs also highlighted the significant role of Latvia in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is evidenced by freight trains that ran between Latvia and China this year, and the active bilateral negotiations and agreements with China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus to make such freight traffic regular. It was further noted that trade and tourism figures in cooperation with China are increasing.
In a conversation with the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister, Wang Chao, the State Secretary shared views on bilateral relations in a number of areas and presented Vice Minister with the Chinese edition of a publication about Latvia’s centennial.
China is Latvia’s second largest trade partner outside the EU after Russia, and the main trade partner in the Far East. Since 2012, the export of Latvian goods to China has more than tripled, rising to EUR 119 million, while the number of Chinese tourists has increased to almost 20 thousand. Latvian institutions are working actively to attract tourists from China so that direct flights between Latvia and China could be launched in the long term.
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