Edgars Rinkēvičs encourages U.S. support in facilitating investment and trade with Latvia

26.02.2016. 17:45

On 25 February, Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs met with Bruce Andrews, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, in order to talk about bilateral economic relations between Latvia and the United States of America, attracting U.S. investments to Latvia, the process of technical discussions related to Latvia’s accession to the OECD, Latvia’s energy market liberalisation, and opportunities for Latvia’s fish-processing companies to enter the U.S. market.

Latvia and the United States have established successful economic relations, and both the unabated interest of Latvian enterprises in the U.S. market, and the steady level of U.S. investment in Latvia, point to a stable environment for investment and confidence between partners, the Minister said. At the same time, he expressed the conviction that there is considerable unexploited potential in U.S.-Latvia cooperation, and that the development of new joint cooperation projects should be fostered including in the field of science and technology.

On the question of Russia’s non-tariff barriers applied for example to Latvia’s fish processing industry, Minister Rinkēvičs noted that the embargo has driven Latvia’s companies to diversify their export markets, and he asked for support in facilitating the introduction of Latvia’s fish products into the United States.

Bruce Andrews confirmed the interest of U.S. companies in business with Latvia and suggested proceeding with the organisation of bilateral visits of U.S. and Latvian companies and investors, that could bring practical and positive economic results for both countries. The Department of Commerce is interested in seeing to it that businesses and investors are active in building economic links between the countries, and so we are quite open to Latvian companies, he said.

The Latvian Foreign Minister described the liberalisation of the natural gas market and Latvia’s commitment to the implementation of the Third Energy Package and the goal of strengthening security and independence of the energy supply to the Baltic States.

Concerning the ongoing technical discussions that are part of the OECD accession process, Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs said that work is ongoing in order to further enhancing the measures to fight money-laundering, especially in regard to strengthening supervision and inspections of banks focused on non-resident services. Minister Rinkēvičs said the he would like to thank the United States for the support it has offered in the context of the OECD accession process and looks forward to continue this successful cooperation in the future on similar lines also after Latvia has become a member state.

The officials agreed that TTIP, the EU-U.S. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, is an agreement where the strategic and geopolitical considerations are every bit as important as the economic, and in this regard, the intensification of talks at both the expert level and higher political level should be supported, thereby maintaining the momentum to conclude an agreement which is ambitious and making the maximum degree of progress in talks on TTIP this year. 


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