On 12 February, the Honorary Consuls of Latvia in the United States of America convened for their annual meeting. The participants took stock of last year’s activities and outlined future action to promote the political dialogue between Latvia and the United States and cooperation in business and on military and defence matters. Ambassador Andris Razāns discussed the priorities of the newly formed Latvian government and the Embassy’s plans for 2016.
The Ambassador and the Honorary Consul also reviewed preparations for Latvia's centennial in 2018. Līga Ejups of the American Latvian Association (ALA) presented the concept for the anniversary events and the U.S. Latvian community's plans to ensure their visibility to a wider public.
Speaking on business and trade, Ivars Ērkšķis, Director of the Project Department at the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA), showcased innovative products of Latvian companies and their capacity for increasing exports and reaching more distant markets, including the United States Last year, the trade turnover between Latvia and the U.S. increased by more than 20 per cent. The LIAA representative mentioned examples of successful investments by American companies Cabot, Cytec, Jeld-Wen in Latvia and the success of a Latvia-based company, Valmieras stikla šķiedra JSC (the parent company of Valmiera Glass Group) in the U.S. state of Georgia.
The Honorary Consuls also received information from Eric Stewart, President of the newly established American Central European Business Association (ACEBA). Mr Stewart invited the Honorary Consuls to make use of the business association’s contacts in order to excite interest of U.S. companies in opportunities for investing in Latvia and make them aware of the good environment in the country and its steady performance, for example, with respect to indicators on GDP growth which have given Latvia a consistently high ranking amongst European Union members.