On February 15, the Ambassador of Latvia to the United States Mr Andris Teikmanis was in Houston, Texas and opened the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Latvia in the State of Texas. Ambassador Teikmanis “wished good luck to honorary consul Pēteris Ragaušs with promoting Latvian-Texan business relations and cooperation in culture and education in the new centennial of Latvia.” Over sixty people, including representatives of the Houston City Council, honorary consuls from fellow European Union countries, and the local Latvian community, attended the ceremony. After the opening of the consulate, the Latvian ambassador presented a Certificate of Recognition of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia to former Latvian honorary consul in Texas Mr Stephen Payne.
While on his visit to Texas, the Ambassador also visited the state’s capital Austin and met with Mr Rolando Pablos, the Secretary of State of Texas, and discussed cooperation opportunities between Latvia and Texas. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the overall trade volume between Latvia and Texas in 2016 reached approximately 50 million USD, of which 18 million USD was Latvian exports to Texas. The main Latvian export products to Texas are alcoholic beverages, electronics, peat moss products and glass fiber products.
Major global and U.S. energy companies are located in Texas, specifically in Houston. The Ambassador met with Extiel, Cheniere, Tellurian and Mitsubishi company representatives to discuss cooperation perspectives in the areas of hydrogen fuels and liquefied natural gas. The Ambassador emphasized Latvia’s economic potential during his speech at the World Affairs Council of Greater Houston and Baker Institute. The Ambassador also received greetings regarding his visit from the Mayor of the City of Houston Mr Sylvester Turner. The Ambassador visited the Rothko Chapel in Houston, TX that features 14 murals created by Mark Rothko, who was an American abstract expressionism artist born in Daugavpils.
The Honorary Consul of the Republic of Latvia in the State of Texas with residence in Houston is Mr Pēteris Aloizs Ragaušs, who is of Latvian descent. He was confirmed in his new role in December, 2017. He has special interest in Latvian and Latgalian culture, as well as the energy sector. Mr Ragaušs has promoted various culture projects of Latgale, one of the historic regions of Latvia. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF). Mr Ragaušs has studied mechanical engineering at Michigan State University and holds an MBA degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.
Honorary consuls are unpaid representatives of Latvia and may have rights to perform certain consular functions. Latvia has a total of 18 honorary consuls in the United States – in the states of Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Utah, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, as well as in Northern California, Southern California, and the City of New York, NY.
More information can be found in the interactive map: http://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/diplomatic-missions#US