On 22 September 2023, Boston, U.S., hosted yet another Spotlight Latvia business conference with participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Krišjānis Kariņš. The conference aims to highlight, in the U.S., the image of Latvia as a country attractive for doing business, to promote the visibility of Latvian companies and sales of their products and services in the U.S. market, as well as attracting new foreign investments to Latvia. The main themes of this year’s conference are technology, biomedicine and education.
Addressing those present, the Foreign Minister Krišjānis Kariņš underlined that the U.S. was one of Latvia’s most important trading and business partners, and he welcomed the increasing cooperation between the two countries on technologies of high value added. Krišjānis Kariņš invited American businesses to make investments in the most dynamic sectors of Latvia’s economy.
The Minister noted that Latvia’s objective remained unchanged over the past few years – to encourage the attraction of investment to exports and to the development of production oriented towards high value added. It is a real pleasure for me, the Minister underlined, to see that we also succeed in that, but we must not ease off, work must go on in that direction. He said that further effort is being made to improve the business environment and reduce bureaucratic hurdles, while also making the necessary redesign to the education system.
Latvia is a safe environment for investment. When investing in Latvia, entrepreneurs invest in the European Union. Latvia is a full-fledged member of NATO and has doubled its financial allocations for the strengthening of the country’s defence capabilities over the past five years, Krišjānis Kariņš said, adding that soldiers from other NATO member states are serving in NATO’s Canada-led enhanced Forward Presence battle group in Latvia.
The Minister noted in particular the role of Latvians living in the U.S. in promoting the economic interests of Latvia. Given the scale of the U.S. economy, it is important to team up and work together, involving businesses, the Latvian government, the Foreign Service, Latvian honorary consuls and Latvian organisations in the U.S.
The business conference brought together more than 200 participants from Latvia and the U.S., including the representatives of companies, such as President of AmCham Cairo and CEO of SIA MikroTik, Jon Tully, CEO of Printful, Alex Saltonstall, the Supervisory Board Member of JSC Latvenergo, Aigars Laizāns, and Chairman of Supervisory Council at Luminor Bank, Nils Melngailis.
The participants of the conference also represented Latvian universities – the University of Latvia, Riga Technical University, and Rīga Stradiņš University – the academic staff of which, together with their colleagues from leading U.S. universities, discussed the importance of highly educated human capital for the development of natural sciences and technologies.
To reaffirm the interest of the U.S. in the development of business cooperation between Latvia and the U.S., the participants of the conference were addressed by Christopher Robinson, U.S. Ambassador to Latvia.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, the conference was organised by the Latvian American Chamber of Commerce (LACC), the World Federation of Free Latvians (PBLA), the American Latvian Association (ALA), the Embassy of Latvia in the U.S. and the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA).
Spotlight Latvia is the major Latvian – American business promotion initiative in the United States bringing together business men and women from Latvia and the U.S. Since 2017, cooperation and networking has resulted in the largest scale conferences aimed at promoting Latvian businesses in the U.S. On earlier occasions, those events have taken place in Chicago in 2017, Denver in 2029, and Los Angeles in 2022.