19. Ārējās ekonomiskās politikas koordinācijas padomes sēde

On 22 March 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the 19th meeting of the Foreign Economic Policy Coordination Council. The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs; the deputy chairperson of the Council is the Minister of Economics, Ilze Indriksone. The event addressed current matters related to the shaping and implementation of the foreign economic policy. 

The Director General of the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia, Andris Bite, spoke about support for Latvian businesses and cooperation between public authorities and business organisations at the national level towards competitiveness and export capacity of Latvia’s national economy.

Edgars Rinkēvičs highlighted support provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to business people until now making use of the opportunities offered by embassies, the representative offices of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) abroad, and the network of the Latvian Honorary Consuls. He also voiced his readiness to cooperate and address issues important to Latvia’s business community. The Minister invited businesses to provide information about challenges faced in third country markets so that they could be addressed at the EU level if necessary. Visits of Latvian and foreign officials have been resumed this year, including visits being planned to Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific countries. The Foreign Minister called on business people to actively express their interests and join delegations.

The participants agreed to cooperate more closely on specific issues in order to promote business competitiveness and export growth.

The meeting approved the Ministry of Economy’s offer on changes to be made to the network of the representative offices of LIAA abroad in 2023. The participants also made note of information provided by the Director of LIAA, Kaspars Rožkalns, on the results of the work of the agency’s representative offices in 2022 and objectives to be achieved in 2023.

The participants discussed the topic raised by the Ministry of Economics regarding the prospects for development of economic relations and possibilities for cooperation with Asia.

The Deputy State Secretary at the Ministry of Transport, Uldis Reimanis, talked about the current cooperation of the sector with Central Asia and also the Asian region, namely, how to support and promote measures and activities aimed at the maintenance and development of transit routes more effectively.

The Minister of Agriculture, Didzis Šmits, addressed those present about support for export promotion measures, including for large food processing enterprises. The importance of the overall image of Latvia in representing the country at international events was also stressed. The Council therefore decided to continue the discussion on the image of the country at the next sitting.

At the end of the meeting, the Foreign Minister informed the Council about sanctions and the impermissibility of circumvention, while stressing that the introduction of sanctions was a process that needed to be constantly monitored and adjusted. The sanctions are extensive and also complex; in the light of that, the Foreign Minister called on sectoral ministries and responsible authorities to step in to prevent the attempts of circumvention.

The Foreign Economic Policy Coordination Council, established by the Cabinet in 2012, is a collegial coordinating institution under the Foreign Minister’s leadership, which aims at ensuring concerted action by public authorities and other institutions in creating and implementing a successful external economic policy. The Council builds a systematic dialogue between the public and non-governmental sectors.